glossopharyngeal nerve

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Related to CN IX: Cranial nerves, CN V, CN XII


pertaining to the tongue and pharynx.
glossopharyngeal nerve the ninth cranial nerve; it supplies the carotid sinus, mucous membrane, and muscles of the pharynx, soft palate, and posterior third of the tongue, and the taste buds in the posterior third of the tongue. By serving the carotid sinus, the glossopharyngeal nerve provides for reflex control of the heart. It is also responsible for the swallowing reflex, for stimulating secretions of the parotid glands, and for the sense of taste in the posterior third of the tongue. See also anatomic Table of Nerves in the Appendices.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

glossopharyngeal nerve

(glô′sō-fə-rĭn′jē-əl, -jəl, -făr′ən-jē′əl, glŏs′ō-)
Either of the ninth pair of cranial nerves that contain both sensory and motor fibers and supply the tongue, soft palate, pharynx, and parotid gland.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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glossopharyngeal nerve

A mixed nerve that is sensory for taste and for the carotid sinus and body, and motor for secretion of saliva and contraction of the pharynx.


Taste fibers from the posterior third of the tongue join visceral sensory fibers from the pharynx, auditory tube, middle ear, carotid sinus, and carotid body and run back to their neuronal cell bodies in the superior and inferior ganglia of the glossopharyngeal nerve, located in the jugular foramen. The axons of these ganglionic neurons follow the glossopharyngeal roots into the hindbrain where they synapse in the nucleus of the tractus solitarius and the spinal nucleus of the trigeminal nerve.


The glossopharyngeal nerve emerges from the medulla as a line of small rootlets just anterior to the rootlets of the vagus nerve (CN X). The glossopharyngeal rootlets collect into a single nerve that emerges from the skull through the jugular foramen, along with the vagus and spinal accessory (CN XI) nerves. The glossopharyngeal nerve then divides into branches as it runs along the stylopharyngeus muscle.



Synonym: ninth cranial nerve See: illustration
See also: nerve
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners

glossopharyngeal nerve

the 9th CRANIAL NERVE of vertebrates; a dorsal root nerve. It is concerned with the swallowing reflex and back of the tongue taste buds in mammals.
Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005