The pons (sometimes pons Varolii after Costanzo Varolio) is a structure located on the brain stem. It is rostral to the medulla oblongata, caudal to the midbrain, and ventral to the cerebellum. In humans and other bipeds this means it is above the medulla, below the midbrain, and anterior to the cerebellum.
Additional recommended knowledge
The pons relays sensory information between the cerebellum and cerebrum, aids in relaying other messages in the brain, controls arousal, and regulates respiration (see respiratory centres). In some theories, the pons has a role in dreaming.
Anatomy of the pons
The "knob-like" process (Basal pons) is 2 centimeters long and located on the anterior (front) of the brainstem. It is formed of nerves that travel from one side (left or right) to the other. Most other fibres in the brainstem travel up and down.
The posterior (back) surface of the pons forms part of the wall of the fourth ventricle of the brain.
Most blood to the pons is supplied by pontine arteries. These are small arteries that branch off the basilar artery (of the Circle of Willis). Blood also comes from the anterior inferior, and superior cerebellar arteries.
There are two main domains in the pons for control of respiration:
- the apneustic center - lower pons
- the pneumotaxic center - upper pons
Cranial nerve nuclei
A number of cranial nerve nuclei are present in the pons:
- ^ The "Science of Dreaming" in Neurontic: Psychology for the Modern Mind..
- ^ Physiology at MCG 4/4ch6/s4ch6_10
|Brain: rhombencephalon (hindbrain)|
anterior/ventral: Arcuate nucleus of medulla • Pyramid (Decussation) • Olivary body • Inferior olivary nucleus • Anterior median fissure • Ventral respiratory group
posterior/dorsal: VII,IX,X: Solitary/tract • XII, X: Dorsal • IX,X,XI: Ambiguus • IX: Inferior salivatory nucleus • Gracile nucleus/Cuneate nucleus/Accessory cuneate nucleus • Area postrema • Posterior median sulcus • Dorsal respiratory group
raphe/reticular: Sensory decussation • Reticular formation (Gigantocellular nucleus, Parvocellular reticular nucleus, Ventral reticular nucleus, Lateral reticular nucleus, Paramedian reticular nucleus) • Raphe nuclei (Obscurus, Magnus, Pallidus)
tracts: Corticospinal tract (Lateral, Anterior) • Inferior cerebellar peduncle • Olivocerebellar tract • Spinocerebellar (Dorsal, Ventral) • Spinothalamic tract • PCML (Posterior external arcuate fibers, Internal arcuate fibers, Medial lemniscus) • Extrapyramidal (Rubrospinal tract, Vestibulospinal tract, Tectospinal tract)
anterior/ventral: Superior olivary nucleus • Basis pontis (Pontine nuclei, Middle cerebellar peduncles)
posterior/dorsal: Pontine tegmentum (Trapezoid body, Superior medullary velum, Locus ceruleus, MLF, Vestibulocerebellar tract, V Principal Spinal & Motor, VI, VII, VII: Superior salivary nucleus) • VIII-c (Dorsal, Anterior)/VIII-v (Lateral, Superior, Medial, Inferior)
raphe/reticular: Reticular formation (Caudal pontine reticular nucleus, Oral pontine reticular nucleus, Tegmental pontine reticular nucleus, Paramedian pontine reticular formation) • Median raphe nucleus
Apneustic center • Pneumotaxic center
|Metencephalon/cerebellum||Vermis • Flocculus • Arbor vitae • Cerebellar tonsil • Inferior medullary velum|
Molecular layer (Stellate cell, Basket cell, Parallel fiber) • Purkinje cell layer (Purkinje cell) • Granule cell layer (Golgi cell) • Mossy fibers • Climbing fiber
Deep cerebellar nuclei (Dentate, Emboliform, Globose, Fastigial)
|Fourth ventricle||apertures (Median, Lateral) • Rhomboid fossa (Vagal trigone, Hypoglossal trigone, Obex, Sulcus limitans, Facial colliculus, Medial eminence) • Lateral recess|