Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

The emerging role of cranial nerves in shaping craniofacial development.

Published Web Location

Organs and structures of the vertebrate head perform a plethora of tasks including visualization, digestion, vocalization/communication, auditory functions, and respiration in response to neuronal input. This input is primarily derived from afferent and efferent fibers of the cranial nerves (sensory and motor respectively) and efferent fibers of the cervical sympathetic trunk. Despite their essential contribution to the function and integration of processes necessary for survival, how organ innervation is established remains poorly understood. Furthermore, while it has been appreciated for some time that innervation of organs by cranial nerves is regulated in part by secreted factors and cell surface ligands expressed by those organs, whether nerves also regulate the development of facial organs is only beginning to be elucidated. This review will provide an overview of cranial nerve development in relation to the organs they innervate, and outline their known contributions to craniofacial development, thereby providing insight into how nerves may shape the organs they innervate during development. Throughout, the interaction between different cell and tissue types will be highlighted.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View