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Gray's Fig. 682 - Superficial dissection of brain-stem. Lateral view.

The rhombencephalon (or hindbrain) is a developmental categorization of portions of the central nervous system in vertebrates.

The rhombencephalon can be subdivided in a variable number of transversal swellings called rhombomeres. In the human embryo we can distinguish eight rhombomeres, from caudal to rostral: Rh7-Rh1 and the isthmus (the most rostral rhombomere). Rhombomeres Rh7-Rh4 form the myelencephalon, and rhombomeres Rh3-Rh1 form the metencephalon.

The myelencephalon forms the medulla in the adult brain; it contains a portion of the fourth ventricle, the glossopharyngeal nerve (CN IX), vagus nerve (CN X), accessory nerve (CN XI), hypoglossal nerve (CN XII), and a portion of the vestibulocochlear nerve (CN VIII).

The metencephalon is composed of the pons and the cerebellum; it contains a portion of the fourth ventricle, the trigeminal nerve (CN V), abducens nerve (CN VI), facial nerve (CN VII), and a portion of the vestibulocochlear nerve (CN VIII).


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