[Contributions of embryology and comparative anatomy for teaching of cranial nerves].Morphologie. 2018 Jun; 102(337):111-121.M
Some authors propose a global approach, including imaging, to describe cranial nerves from a clinical point of view. If we can agree to a certain extent with this proposal, we consider that the use of a medical point of view can neglect histological and embryological features which contribute to a better understanding of nerve function. For example, it is false to consider totally "nerves" I and II as "sensory cranial nerves". They are not true nerves, but derive manly from direct expansions of the central nervous system. They differ fundamentally from cranial nerves, except for the fibers present at the roof of olfactory fossa. The cranial nerve nuclei arise from "Herrick's columns", which originate from alar and basal plates. These columns, which correspond to "functional components" of these nerves are extremely important for the understanding of cranial nerve functions (as "viscero-efferent", "somato-afferent", etc.), which also helps students to memorize these nerves. The usual classification of cranial nerves neglect the terminal nerve, present in adult humans and associated to the vomero-nasal organ. It includes in the cranial nerves a trunk nerve secondary associated with the head, the hypoglossal nerve, and creates a supernumerary cranial nerve (the accessory nerve) by fusion of vagous fibers with cervical roots. Close consideration of the development and the comparative anatomy can lead to a new synthesis useful to understand the cranial nerves from a general biological point of view and can facilitate their study.