The Glossopharyngeal Nerve (Cranial Nerve IX)

The ninth cranial nerve is both a motor nerve, carrying afferent and efferent motor information, and a sensory nerve[1]. Afferent means it is traveling from somewhere in the body to the brain.This only motor function is to elevate the pharynx[2]. The sensory aspect of the glossopharyngeal nerve comes from the pharynx, tonsils, middle ear, and posterior third of the tongue[2]. The ninth cranial nerve is responsible for the carotid sinus reflex. Sensory fibers receive information from the carotid bodies to detect blood pressure in the sinus of the carotid[2]. If there is pressure applied to the carotid artery, then the body reacts by lowering its blood pressure[2].


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  2. Naik, A. 2011. Glossopharyngeal neuralgia [Internet]. Premier Specialty Center; [cited 2012 May 1]. Available from: Opens in new window