2-Minute Neuroscience: Abducens Nerve (Cranial Nerve VI)
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  • Release Date: 2024-04-03
  • cranial nerve
  • motor nerve
  • lateral rectus muscle
  • eye
  • brain
Video Introduction

The content is sourced from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkzyVO4-gmE

The abducens nerve, also known as cranial nerve VI, is a motor nerve responsible for supplying one of the extraocular muscles of the eye: the lateral rectus muscle. The lateral rectus muscle abducts the eye, or moves it laterally toward the side of the head.

The abducens nerve originates in the abducens nucleus, which is located in the pons. Fibers from the facial nerve wrap around the abducens nucleus, and the combination of the nucleus and facial nerve fibers creates a bulge in the floor of the fourth ventricle known as the facial colliculus. The abducens nerve fibers exit the brainstem at the junction between the pons and medulla and supply the lateral rectus muscle on the same side of the head. 

Neurons from the abducens nucleus also travel through a pathway called the medial longitudinal fasciculus to the oculomotor nucleus, where they synapse on neurons that control the medial rectus muscle of the other eye. The medial rectus moves the eye inward. This pathway allows for coordination of eye movement, as when your abducens nerve allows you to look laterally with your left eye, the fibers that travel in the medial longitudinal fasciculus cause your right eye to look medially.

Damage to the abducens nerve causes impairment in the ability of the eye the nerve supplies to to move laterally, and a condition called esotropia in which the eye that’s affected deviates medially. In this case, the medial deviation is due to the loss of abducens function and the unopposed action of the medial rectus muscle. This also leads to diplopia, or double vision.[1]

  1. Vanderah TW, Gould DJ. Nolte's The Human Brain. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016
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Challenged, N. 2-Minute Neuroscience: Abducens Nerve (Cranial Nerve VI). Encyclopedia. Available online: https://encyclopedia.pub/video/video_detail/1144 (accessed on 25 May 2024).
Challenged N. 2-Minute Neuroscience: Abducens Nerve (Cranial Nerve VI). Encyclopedia. Available at: https://encyclopedia.pub/video/video_detail/1144. Accessed May 25, 2024.
Challenged, Neuroscientifically. "2-Minute Neuroscience: Abducens Nerve (Cranial Nerve VI)" Encyclopedia, https://encyclopedia.pub/video/video_detail/1144 (accessed May 25, 2024).
Challenged, N. (2024, April 03). 2-Minute Neuroscience: Abducens Nerve (Cranial Nerve VI). In Encyclopedia. https://encyclopedia.pub/video/video_detail/1144
Challenged, Neuroscientifically. "2-Minute Neuroscience: Abducens Nerve (Cranial Nerve VI)." Encyclopedia. Web. 03 April, 2024.
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