Brain Neurorehabil.  2014 Sep;7(2):93-100. 10.12786/bn.2014.7.2.93.

Functional Neuroanatomy of Brain Stem

  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Seoul Asan Medical Center, Univeristy of Ulsan College Medicine, Korea.


The brain stem consists of medulla oblongta, pons and midbrain. It is sited in posterior cranial fossa. It contains numerous intrinsic neuron cell bodies and their processes, some of which are the brain stem homologues of spinal neuronal groups. These include the sites of termination and cells of origin of axons that enter or leave the brain stem through the cranial nerves. Cranial nerves provide sensory, motor and autonomic innervations of structures that are mostly in the head and neck. The reticular formation is an extensive network of neurons that extends throughout the length of brain stem and is continuous rostrally to diencephalon and caudally to its spinal counterpart. Clinically, damage to the brain stem is often devastating and life threatening. This is because it is a structurally and functionally compact region. Therefore, it is important to build basic knowledge about neuroanatomy of brain stem.


brain stem; medulla oblongta; mesencephalon; pons; reticular formation
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