Edinger-Westphal nucleus

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Brain: Edinger-Westphal nucleus
Section through superior colliculus (unlabeled) showing path of oculomotor nerve. ("Edinger-Westphal nucleus" is not on diagram, but would be near oculomotor nuclei.)
Figure showing the different groups of cells, which constitute, according to Perlia, the nucleus of origin of the oculomotor nerve.
1. Posterior dorsal nucleus.
1’. Posterior ventral nucleus.
2. Anterior dorsal nucleus.
2’. Anterior ventral nucleus.
3. Central nucleus.
4. Nucleus of Edinger and Westphal.
5. Antero-internal nucleus.
6. Antero-external nucleus.
8. Crossed fibers.
9. Trochlear nerve, with 9’, its nucleus of origin, and 9", its decussation.
10. Third ventricle.
M, M. Median line.
Latin nuclei accessorii nervi oculomotorii
NeuroNames hier-489
Dorlands/Elsevier n_11/12580082

The Edinger-Westphal nucleus (also known as the accessory oculomotor nucleus ) is the accessory parasympathetic cranial nerve nucleus of the oculomotor nerve (cranial nerve III), supplying the constricting muscles of the iris.


The paired nuclei are posterior to the main motor nucleus (oculomotor nucleus) and anterolateral to the cerebral aqueduct in the rostral midbrain at the level of the superior colliculus.

It is the most rostral of the parasympathetic nuclei in the brain stem.


The Edinger-Westphal nucleus supplies preganglionic parasympathetic fibers to the eye, constricting the pupil and accommodating the lens.


The nucleus is named for both Ludwig Edinger, who demonstrated it in the fetus in 1885, and for Karl Friedrich Otto Westphal, who demonstrated it in the adult in 1887.[1]

See also

Additional images


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