Inferior salivatory nucleus

Last revised by Assoc Prof Craig Hacking on 02 Sep 2020

The inferior salivatory (or salivary) nucleus is the nucleus associated with the visceral efferent innervation of the parotid gland. It is one of the four nuclei of the glossopharyngeal nerve.

Gross anatomy

The inferior salivatory nucleus is located within the dorsal aspect of the pons just superior to the pontomedullary junction 1. It lies superior and dorsal to the nucleus ambiguus and medial to both the solitary tract nucleus and spinal nucleus of the trigeminal nerve.

It also lies caudally with respect to the superior salivatory nucleus which supplies preganglionic parasympathetic fibers to the sublingual and submandibular glands via the facial nerve 2.

Innervation

The inferior salivatory nucleus provides the origin of the parasympathetic preganglionic neurons which supply the parotid gland leading to parotid gland vasodilation and salivation via the otic ganglion.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: upper medulla anatomy - CN IX (diagram)
    Drag here to reorder.
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