Supriya Ghosh


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MeSH  A08.
NeuroLex ID  Rhombencephalon
TA  A14.1.03.002
NeuroNames  hier-531
Dorlands /Elsevier  r_12/12709581
FMA  67687

The hindbrain or rhombencephalon is a developmental categorization of portions of the central nervous system in vertebrates. It includes the medulla, pons, and cerebellum. Together they support vital bodily processes.


The hindbrain can be subdivided in a variable number of transversal swellings called rhombomeres. In the human embryo eight rhombomeres can be distinguished, from caudal to rostral: Rh8-Rh1. Rostrally, the isthmus demarcates the boundary with the midbrain.

A rare disease of the rhombencephalon—"rhombencephalosynapsis"—is characterized by a missing vermis resulting in a fused cerebellum. Patients generally present with cerebellar ataxia.

The caudal rhombencephalon has been generally considered as the initiation site for neural tube closure.


Rhombomeres Rh3-Rh1 form the metencephalon.

The metencephalon is composed of the pons and the cerebellum; it contains:

  • a portion of the fourth ventricle,
  • the trigeminal nerve (CN V),
  • abducens nerve (CN VI),
  • facial nerve (CN VII),
  • and a portion of the vestibulocochlear nerve (CN VIII).
  • Myelencephalon

    Rhombomeres Rh8-Rh4 form the myelencephalon.

    The myelencephalon forms the medulla oblongata in the adult brain; it contains:

  • a portion of the fourth ventricle,
  • the glossopharyngeal nerve (CN IX),
  • vagus nerve (CN X),
  • accessory nerve (CN XI),
  • hypoglossal nerve (CN XII),
  • and a portion of the vestibulocochlear nerve (CN VIII).
  • Evolution

    The hindbrain is homologous to a part of the arthropod brain known as the sub-oesophageal ganglion, in terms of the genes that it expresses and its position in between the brain and the nerve cord. On this basis, it has been suggested that the hindbrain first evolved in the Urbilaterian - the last common ancestor of chordates and arthropods - between 570 and 555 million years ago.


    Hindbrain Wikipedia

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