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The vagus nerve, which is the tenth cranial nerve (CN X), stems from between the olives or olivary bodies and cerebellum. It exits the skull via the jugular foramen along with the glossopharyngeal nerve (CN IX), the accessory nerve (CN XI), the posterior meningeal artery and the jugular vein.
The vagus nerve is comprised of efferent motoric and parasympathetic fibers, as well as afferent sensory fibers. As such, this nerve provides both sensory and motor innervation to the various viscera it supplies. To be more specific, this nerve provides motor innervation to the heart, the lungs, the palate, the larynx, the pharynx, the trachea, the bronchi and the gastrointestinal tract. Because it also carries sensory afferent fibers, the vagus nerve also supplies sensory nerve fibers to the heart, the lungs, the pharynx, the larynx, the trachea, the bronchi, the gastrointestinal tract and the external ear.
The anterior vagal trunk of the vagus nerve (CN X), which is formed from the left vagus nerve, receives the afferent sensory fibers from the lower gastrointestinal tract branches. These branches include: anterior gastric branches, a hepatic branch, which supplies the liver, a celiac branch, the celiac and superior mesenteric ganglia, the celiac plexus, the hepatic plexus, a pyloric branch, intestinal branches and the esophageal plexus.
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