The trigeminal nerve (or fifth cranial nerve) contains both motor and sensory fibers. Primarily, however, it carries sensation from the skin of the face and forehead and from the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose. It is divided into three portions: the ophthalmic, maxillary, and mandibular. The cell bodies arise in the trigeminal ganglion located in the middle fossa along the petrous bone. Fibers travel centrally to the pontine tegmentum, where they synapse with cells in the principal and spinal trigeminal nuclei, which extend from the pons to the upper cervical cord. The motor fibers originate from a nucleus occupying a column in the lateral tegmentum of the pons. These travel peripherally through the mandibular division of the nerve to innervate the masseter, temporalis, anterior digastric, mylohyoid, and muscles of mastication (medial and lateral pterygoids, tensores palati, and tympani).
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