Varolio bridge: characteristics and functions: The pons of Varolio, also known as the pons or pons , is a section of the brain in humans and other bipeds. It is located in front of the cerebellum, above the medulla oblongata and just below the midbrain. Therefore, it is a structure of the central nervous system (CNS) with its own functions.
Although we cannot understand the function of the brain in isolation, since this organ works as a whole, several specific activities have been attributed to this area. It receives its name in honor of Costanzo Varolio (1543-1575) and emulates a highway that allows permanent communication between the brain and the spinal cord. Let’s see everything you should know about him Varolio bridge: characteristics and functions.
Structure of the Varolio bridge
The pons of Varolio is a protuberance found in the stem of the brain . It shares a place with other areas such as the mesencephalon and the medulla oblongata. We can functionally divide its structure into the following parts Varolio bridge: characteristics and functions:
- Basilar part of Varolio’s bridge: It is also known as the basilar groove or ventral part . Through this crosses the basilar artery; that is, the one that provides oxygenated blood to the brain. It is located in the middle of the pons and the damage associated with it is related to alterations in motor function.
- Dorsal part of the Varolian bridge: it is also known as the pontine tegmentum . It is the anterior part of the bridge, which forms a rhomboid structure together with the dorsal medulla. Many motor functions are regulated in this section, Varolio bridge: characteristics and functions but also sensory and arousal functions.
This is the structure understood in a macro way, Varolio bridge: characteristics and functions but if we analyze it in a more detailed way we find different tracts or nuclei. Among the most important we distinguish the following:
- Special motor nucleus of the trigeminal: regulates the proprioception of the periodontal tissues and of all the muscles of mastication. It also regulates visceral movements.
- Special motor nucleus of the facial: it is characterized by being a gray mass in the bridge.
- Abductor somatic motor nucleus: a structure related to the abducens nerve . It supplies innervation to the lateral rectus muscle, one of the extraocular muscles.
- Superior salivatory nucleus: provides parasympathetic innervation to different glands associated with the oral cavity (salivary, submandibular and sublingual).
It also has other sections such as the vestibular and cochlear nuclei, the nucleus of the solitary tract, the trigeminal pontine nucleus and many more. All of these nuclei are associated with cranial nerves.
In turn, we can divide its structure into three large groups: Varolio bridge: characteristics and functions sensitive part, visceral motor part and vegetative part . In any case, let this serve as an example that it is a very complex structure, one that also has a leading role.
Characteristics of the Varolio bridge
Like many areas of the brain, the pons has some peculiar characteristics. Let’s see some that often go unnoticed when understanding their functions and structure:
- On average, the Varolio bridge measures only 2.5 centimeters .
- It is the most bulging part of the brainstem (partly for this reason it is known as the pons ).
- It is composed of neurons and glia, although Varolio bridge: characteristics and functions some specific areas lack synapses.
- Their own nuclei are found in the ventral part of their structure, although most of their nuclei are associated with the cranial nerves (they are external or shared).
- It is shaped like a thick roller.
- It can be affected by conditions such as central Varolio bridge: characteristics and functions pontine myelinolysis and Millard-Gübler syndrome.
The bridge of Varolio is part of the central nervous system (CNS) and directly and indirectly regulates different functions. Let’s look at some of these to understand their importance.
Functions of the Varolio bridge
We have already advanced some of the functions of the Varolio bridge, but now we will describe them in more detail. It is not an area that fulfills a single function, but rather connects with many other areas to form a whole.
Serves as a communication link
The best known function of the Varolio bridge is to serve as a communication link. The pons allows information to flow from the brain to the spinal cord (and vice versa). Therefore, it has a regulatory or conductive function. Varolio bridge: characteristics and functions Imagine that it is a large highway that works as a two-way communication channel .
Regulates automatic functions
Daily you do automatic activities that go completely unnoticed by your consciousness. For example, standing up, breathing, or blinking. The Varolian bridge is responsible for regulating these and other associated processes. Walking, stopping or resuming inhalation, focusing your eyes on a specific place and so Varolio bridge: characteristics and functions on.
Involved in the expression of emotions and feelings
Emotions such as joy, anger or sadness are manifested through specific facial features. Thanks to the regulation of the nerves that pass through the protuberance, these expressions can be controlled, although most of the time it is done Varolio bridge: characteristics and functions automatically.
Helps maintain balance
is something most people take for granted. This is because it is regulated by different systems, among which are the Varolio bridge processes. These receive and transmit signals to the nerves that allow you to hold your head up or walk without losing your balanc Varolio bridge: characteristics and functions e.
It also intervenes in your perception of pain, taste, touch, secretion of saliva, tears, auditory perception and many more. As we have already pointed out, Varolio bridge: characteristics and functions these functions are not developed exclusively in this area, but are combined with other areas of the brain to process as a whole.