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Acta Anat (Basel). 1993;148(2-3):139-49.

Motor components of the trigeminal nerve and organization of the mandibular arch muscles in vertebrates. Phylogenetically conservative patterns and their ontogenetic basis.

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School of Life and Health Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark.


The peripheral branching pattern of the mandibular ramus of the Vth cranial nerve and the organization of the trigeminal motor column are highly conserved in craniate phylogeny regardless of the vast modifications in attachments and structure of the mandibular arch musculature. Proximal, intermediate and distal series of mandibular nerve branches supply three major muscle groups and are in register with three neuronal populations of the trigeminal motor column. The adult branching pattern is established in response to the differentiation of mandibular muscles and is important in determining the organization of the motor nucleus of V. The innervation of the muscles of the mandibular segment of the head, and the location of motoneurons reflect their segmental origins and are reliable criteria for homologizing mandibular muscles among the craniates.

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