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In the brainstem and spinal cord, a group of functionally analogous motor nuclei that are aligned longitudinally and that occupy a stereotyped position in cross-sections. The three motor columns, which run in the medial and ventral quadrants of the brainstem and spinal cord, comprise the branchial motor column (the nucleus ambiguus, the facial motor nucleus, and the trigeminal motor nucleus), the somatic motor column (the ventral horns of the spinal cord and the hypoglossal, abducens, trochlear, and oculomotor nuclei), and the visceral motor column (the lateral horns of the spinal cord and the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus, the salivatory nucleus, and the Edinger-Westphal nucleus).
See also: column
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