oculomotor nerve


Summary: The 3d cranial nerve. The oculomotor nerve sends motor fibers to the levator muscles of the eyelid and to the superior rectus, inferior rectus, and inferior oblique muscles of the eye. It also sends parasympathetic efferents (via the ciliary ganglion) to the muscles controlling pupillary constriction and accommodation. The motor fibers originate in the oculomotor nuclei of the midbrain.

Top Publications

  1. Lau K, Joshi S, Ellamushi H, Afshar F. Isolated bilateral oculomotor nerve palsy in pituitary apoplexy: case report and review. Br J Neurosurg. 2007;21:399-402 pubmed
    ..We report a case of a pituitary adenoma presenting with complete, bilateral oculomotor nerve palsies, but minimal loss of visual fields, and intact abducens and trochlear nerves.
  2. Carrascal L, Nieto Gonzalez J, Torres B, Nunez Abades P. Changes in somatodendritic morphometry of rat oculomotor nucleus motoneurons during postnatal development. J Comp Neurol. 2009;514:189-202 pubmed publisher
  3. Nagashima H, Yamamoto K, Kawamura A, Nagashima T, Nomura K, Yoshida M. Pediatric orbital schwannoma originating from the oculomotor nerve. J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2012;9:165-8 pubmed publisher
    ..The pathological diagnosis was schwannoma that appeared to originate from the superior branch of the oculomotor nerve. Despite the rarity of these intraorbital extraocular tumors in children, schwannomas should be ..
  4. Ashker L, Weinstein J, Dias M, Kanev P, Nguyen D, Bonsall D. Arachnoid cyst causing third cranial nerve palsy manifesting as isolated internal ophthalmoplegia and iris cholinergic supersensitivity. J Neuroophthalmol. 2008;28:192-7 pubmed publisher
    ..Our patient serves as a reminder that isolated internal ophthalmoplegia with cholinergic supersensitivity is compatible with a preganglionic compressive third nerve lesion, particularly in a young child...
  5. Lee V, Sechrist J, Luetolf S, Bronner Fraser M. Both neural crest and placode contribute to the ciliary ganglion and oculomotor nerve. Dev Biol. 2003;263:176-90 pubmed
    ..to the trigeminal placode, that contributes a few early differentiating neurons to the ciliary ganglion, oculomotor nerve, and connecting branches to the ophthalmic nerve...
  6. Buckley E, Ellis F, Postel E, Saunders T. Posttraumatic abducens to oculomotor nerve misdirection. J AAPOS. 2005;9:12-6 pubmed
    ..of extraocular muscle, eyelid, or pupillary movements can occur following injury between divisions of the oculomotor nerve, trigeminal and abducens nerves, and trigeminal and oculomotor nerves...
  7. Carrascal L, Nieto Gonzalez J, Nunez Abades P, Torres B. Temporal sequence of changes in electrophysiological properties of oculomotor motoneurons during postnatal development. Neuroscience. 2006;140:1223-37 pubmed
    ..We conclude that the developmental sequence was not similar for all electrophysiological properties, and was unique for each neuronal population. ..
  8. Ajtai B, Fine E, Lincoff N. Pupil-sparing, painless compression of the oculomotor nerve by expanding basilar artery aneurysm: a case of ocular pseudomyasthenia. Arch Neurol. 2004;61:1448-50 pubmed
    b>Oculomotor nerve paresis may have relatively benign but also life-threatening causes. Distinguishing between these is of great clinical importance.
  9. Major G, Baker R, Aksay E, Mensh B, Seung H, Tank D. Plasticity and tuning by visual feedback of the stability of a neural integrator. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004;101:7739-44 pubmed
    ..The presence, strength, and reversibility of the plasticity demonstrate that, in this system, external visual feedback plays a vital role in gradually tuning the stability of the neural integrator. ..

More Information


  1. Prakash N, Puelles E, Freude K, Trumbach D, Omodei D, Di Salvio M, et al. Nkx6-1 controls the identity and fate of red nucleus and oculomotor neurons in the mouse midbrain. Development. 2009;136:2545-55 pubmed publisher
  2. Nieto Gonzalez J, Carrascal L, Nunez Abades P, Torres B. Muscarinic modulation of recruitment threshold and firing rate in rat oculomotor nucleus motoneurons. J Neurophysiol. 2009;101:100-11 pubmed publisher
    ..We conclude that muscarinic inputs play an important role in determining the recruitment threshold and firing rate gain observed in oculomotor Mns in vivo. ..
  3. Mensh B, Aksay E, Lee D, Seung H, Tank D. Spontaneous eye movements in goldfish: oculomotor integrator performance, plasticity, and dependence on visual feedback. Vision Res. 2004;44:711-26 pubmed
    ..These findings suggest that while visual feedback is not essential for online fixation stability, it may be used to tune the mechanism of persistent neural activity in the oculomotor integrator. ..
  4. Crevits L, Verschelde H, Casselman J. Ophthalmoplegic migraine: an unresolved problem. Cephalalgia. 2006;26:1255-9 pubmed
  5. Tanaka K, Sasayama T, Kawamura A, Kondoh T, Kanomata N, Kohmura E. Isolated oculomotor nerve paresis in anaplastic astrocytoma with exophytic invasion. Neurol Med Chir (Tokyo). 2006;46:198-201 pubmed
    A 30-year-old man presented with a supratentorial malignant glioma manifesting as isolated progressive left oculomotor nerve paresis...
  6. O Hara M, Anderson R, Brown D. Magnetic resonance imaging in ophthalmoplegic migraine of children. J AAPOS. 2001;5:307-10 pubmed
    ..In both cases, enhancement and thickening of the cisternal segment of the oculomotor nerve were present at initial presentation...
  7. Lance J, Zagami A. Ophthalmoplegic migraine: a recurrent demyelinating neuropathy?. Cephalalgia. 2001;21:84-9 pubmed
    ..by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanning of thickening and enhancement of the cisternal part of the oculomotor nerve in patients diagnosed as "ophthalmoplegic migraine" prompts reconsideration of this uncommon ..
  8. Dearworth J, Brenner J, Blaum J, Littlefield T, Fink D, Romano J, et al. Pupil constriction evoked in vitro by stimulation of the oculomotor nerve in the turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans). Vis Neurosci. 2009;26:309-18 pubmed publisher
    ..Stimulation of the oculomotor nerve (nIII) using 100-Hz current trains resulted in a maximal pupil constriction of 17.4% compared to 27...
  9. Everton K, Rassner U, Osborn A, Harnsberger H. The oculomotor cistern: anatomy and high-resolution imaging. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2008;29:1344-8 pubmed publisher
    ..The OMC is an important neuroradiologic and surgical landmark, which can be routinely identified on dedicated thin-section high-resolution MR images. It can also be identified on nearly two thirds of standard whole-brain MR images. ..
  10. Carrascal L, Luque M, Sobrino V, Torres B, Nunez Abades P. Postnatal development enhances the effects of cholinergic inputs on recruitment threshold and firing rate of rat oculomotor nucleus motoneurons. Neuroscience. 2010;171:613-21 pubmed publisher
    ..We propose that cholinergic input maturation could provide a greater dynamic range in adult Mns to encode the output necessary for graded muscle contraction. ..
  11. Wolfe S, Manzano G, Langer D, Morcos J. Cavernous malformation of the oculomotor nerve mimicking a partially thrombosed posterior communicating artery aneurysm: report of two cases. Neurosurgery. 2011;69:E470-4 pubmed publisher
    ..We present 2 cases of acute oculomotor paresis caused by cavernous malformations of the oculomotor nerve that were mistaken for a thrombosed posterior communicating artery aneurysm on magnetic resonance imaging, ..
  12. Shamim M, Bari M, Chisti K, Abbas A. A child with intra-orbital oculomotor nerve schwannoma without neurofibromatosis. Can J Neurol Sci. 2008;35:528-30 pubmed
  13. Itshayek E, Perez Sanchez X, Cohen J, Umansky F, Spektor S. Cavernous hemangioma of the third cranial nerve: case report. Neurosurgery. 2007;61:E653; discussion E653 pubmed
    ..The authors report a rare case of a cavernous hemangioma (CH) involving the third cranial nerve...
  14. McMillan H, Keene D, Jacob P, Humphreys P. Ophthalmoplegic migraine: inflammatory neuropathy with secondary migraine?. Can J Neurol Sci. 2007;34:349-55 pubmed
    ..A detailed understanding of the natural history of OM is essential for the clinical. This review provides support that OM may result from cranial nerve inflammation with headache a secondary and later feature of this condition. ..
  15. Nieto Gonzalez J, Carrascal L, Nunez Abades P, Torres B. Phasic and tonic firing properties in rat oculomotor nucleus motoneurons, studied in vitro. Eur J Neurosci. 2007;25:2682-96 pubmed
  16. Perez Balaguer A, Puelles E, Wurst W, Martinez S. Shh dependent and independent maintenance of basal midbrain. Mech Dev. 2009;126:301-13 pubmed publisher
    ..Based on our results and recently published data, we suggest the existence of a specific genetic pathway for the specification of the mesencephalic red nucleus. Foxa2 could be the candidate gene that might control this genetic pathway. ..
  17. Prats J, Mateos B, Garaizar C. Resolution of MRI abnormalities of the oculomotor nerve in childhood ophthalmoplegic migraine. Cephalalgia. 1999;19:655-9 pubmed
    ..by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed enhancement and enlargement of the cisternal portion of the oculomotor nerve, which spontaneously resolved after 2 and 4 years, respectively...
  18. Quaia C, Ying H, Optican L. The nonlinearity of passive extraocular muscles. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2011;1233:17-25 pubmed publisher
    ..We argue against this common belief: the specific nonlinearity of passive EOMs may actually make it easier for the brain to control the plant than if muscles were linear. ..
  19. Azran M, Waljee A, Biousse V, Frankel M, Newman N. Episodic third nerve palsy with cryptococcal meningitis. Neurology. 2005;64:759-60 pubmed
  20. Celebisoy N, Bayam F, Cagirgan S, Hekimgil M. Primary central nervous system leukemia presenting with an isolated oculomotor palsy. J Clin Neurosci. 2008;15:1144-5 pubmed publisher
    We present a patient with an isolated oculomotor nerve palsy due to central nervous system leukemia with bone marrow findings consistent with myelofibrosis without any blasts. This has not been previously reported.
  21. Watanabe Y, Funahashi S. Neuronal activity throughout the primate mediodorsal nucleus of the thalamus during oculomotor delayed-responses. II. Activity encoding visual versus motor signal. J Neurophysiol. 2004;92:1756-69 pubmed
    ..These results suggest that although functional interactions between the MD and DLPFC are crucial to cognitive functions such as working memory, there is a difference in how the MD and DLPFC participate in these functions. ..
  22. Sharma S, Ray B, Bhardwaj D, Dwivedi A, Roy T. Age changes in the human oculomotor nerve - a stereological study. Ann Anat. 2009;191:260-6 pubmed publisher
    The oculomotor nerve (ON) provides motor innervation to the eyeball and exhibits alterations in various physiological and pathological conditions, which may result in abnormal ocular movement...
  23. Rind H, von Bartheld C. Target-derived cardiotrophin-1 and insulin-like growth factor-I promote neurite growth and survival of developing oculomotor neurons. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2002;19:58-71 pubmed
    ..These results significantly extend previous studies using systemic administration of trophic factors and are the first to demonstrate a target-derived retrograde mechanism of developing motoneuron survival factors. ..
  24. Drenckhahn A, Spors B, Knierim E. Acute isolated partial oculomotor nerve palsy due to Lyme neuroborreliosis in a 5 year old girl. Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 2016;20:977-979 pubmed publisher
    Lyme neuroborreliosis is a frequent cause of facial nerve palsy in children, isolated oculomotor nerve palsy due to Borrelia-associated nervous system infection however is rarely seen...
  25. Prakash M, Radhakrishnan M, Yogeshwari A, Nazir W, Maragatham K, Natarajan K. Inverse Marcus Gunn phenomenon. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2002;50:142-4 pubmed
    ..Inverse Marcus-Gunn phenomenon is very rare. It is usually acquired. We report a young male patient presenting with congenital ptosis and inverse Marcus-Gunn phenomenon. ..
  26. Zhang Y, Liu H, Liu E, Lin Y, Zhao S, Jing G. Microsurgical anatomy of the ocular motor nerves. Surg Radiol Anat. 2010;32:623-8 pubmed publisher
    ..The superior division of the oculomotor nerve coursed between the optic nerve and the superior rectus muscle after it left the annular tendon, and its ..
  27. Mijin T, Tsutsumi K, Fujimoto T, Takahata H, Kawahara I, Ono T, et al. [Rupture of an internal carotid-posterior communicating artery aneurysm formerly presented with transient pupil-sparing oculomotor nerve palsy in an extremely elderly patient]. No Shinkei Geka. 2013;41:507-14 pubmed
    We recently encountered experienced a rare case of transient pupil-sparing oculomotor nerve palsy(PSONP)caused by an aneurysm at the junction of the internal carotid-and posterior communicating arteries(IC/PC AN)in an 87-year-old, non-..
  28. Buttner Ennever J. The extraocular motor nuclei: organization and functional neuroanatomy. Prog Brain Res. 2006;151:95-125 pubmed
    ..The hypothesis that SIFs participate in moving the eye and MIFs determine the alignment seems possible but is not compatible with the concept of a final common pathway...
  29. Heidary G, Engle E, Hunter D. Congenital fibrosis of the extraocular muscles. Semin Ophthalmol. 2008;23:3-8 pubmed publisher
    ..Continued study of this syndrome should help to further elucidate the pathogenesis of eye movement disorders. ..
  30. Sunartpin P, Kotchabhakdi N. Afferent projections from motoneurons innervating extraocular muscles to the cerebellum demonstrated by the retrograde double-labeling technique. J Med Assoc Thai. 2005;88:1905-15 pubmed
    ..The findings also indicate that cerebellar neuronal circuits play more direct roles in monitoring and controlling eye movements than previously known. ..
  31. Kleine J, Guan Y, Buttner U. Discharge properties of saccade-related neurons in the primate fastigial oculomotor region. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003;1004:252-61 pubmed
    ..Moreover, the FOR output signal appears to change systematically depending on the actual kinematic properties of the saccade, in a way that would help to maintain saccadic accuracy. ..
  32. Lubbe D, Gardiner I, Fagan J. An unusual orbital foreign body resulting in the orbital apex syndrome: report of a case. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2005;131:526-8 pubmed
  33. Wang J, Gong X, Sun Y, Hu X. Prevalence of nerve-vessel contact at cisternal segments of the oculomotor nerve in asymptomatic patients evaluated with magnetic resonance images. Chin Med J (Engl). 2010;123:989-92 pubmed
    Some studies indicated that cases of idiopathic oculomotor nerve palsy can be explained by vascular compression of the oculomotor nerve...
  34. Fuller P, Reddrop C, Rodger J, Bellingham M, Phillips J. Differential expression of the NMDA NR2B receptor subunit in motoneuron populations susceptible and resistant to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Neurosci Lett. 2006;399:157-61 pubmed
    ..8-fold greater, P<or=0.05, n = 5 animals). Lower expression of the NMDA NR2B subunit may constitute one factor conferring protection to oculomotor neurons in ALS. ..
  35. Mercier P, Brassier G, Fournier H, DeLion M, Papon X, Lasjaunias P. [Morphological anatomy of the cranial nerves in their cisternal segment (III-XII)]. Neurochirurgie. 2009;55:78-86 pubmed publisher
  36. Horn A, Brückner G, Hartig W, Messoudi A. Saccadic omnipause and burst neurons in monkey and human are ensheathed by perineuronal nets but differ in their expression of calcium-binding proteins. J Comp Neurol. 2003;455:341-52 pubmed
  37. Shimokawa T, Akita K, Sato T, Ru F, Yi S, Tanaka S. Comparative anatomical study of the m. retractor bulbi with special reference to the nerve innervations in rabbits and dogs. Okajimas Folia Anat Jpn. 2002;78:235-43 pubmed
    ..In addition, we observed that the ventral ramus of the oculomotor nerve gave rise to branches to the m...
  38. Nazir S, Murphy S, Siatkowski R. Recurrent para-infectious third nerve palsy with cisternal nerve enhancement on MRI. J Neuroophthalmol. 2004;24:96-7 pubmed
  39. Gyenes A, Hoyk Z, Csakvari E, Siklos L, Parducz A. 17?-estradiol attenuates injury-induced microglia activation in the oculomotor nucleus. Neuroscience. 2010;171:677-82 pubmed publisher
  40. de Sperati C. Precise oculomotor correlates of visuospatial mental rotation and circular motion imagery. J Cogn Neurosci. 2003;15:1244-59 pubmed
  41. Tsuda H, Tanaka K. Clinico-anatomical analysis of the fibers to the inferior rectus muscle in the oculomotor fascicles. Intern Med. 2012;51:2031-4 pubmed
    ..These results suggest that the fibers to IR may be located in the most rostral portion of the oculomotor fascicles. ..
  42. Kurokawa Y, Ishizaki E, Inaba K. Incomplete oculomotor nerve palsy caused by an unruptured internal carotid-anterior choroidal artery aneurysm--case report--. Neurol Med Chir (Tokyo). 2005;45:143-7 pubmed
    ..The proximal lateral wall of the aneurysm was in contact with the oculomotor nerve. This contact was released after complete obliteration of the aneurysm. The exotropia resolved 3 months later...
  43. Keedy S, Ebens C, Keshavan M, Sweeney J. Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies of eye movements in first episode schizophrenia: smooth pursuit, visually guided saccades and the oculomotor delayed response task. Psychiatry Res. 2006;146:199-211 pubmed
  44. Joshi S, Tee W, Franconi C, Prentice D. Transient oculomotor nerve palsy due to non-aneurysmal neurovascular compression. J Clin Neurosci. 2017;45:136-137 pubmed publisher
    Acute oculomotor nerve palsy requires urgent exclusion of aneurysmal compression...
  45. Lance Jones C, Shah V, Noden D, Sours E. Intrinsic properties guide proximal abducens and oculomotor nerve outgrowth in avian embryos. Dev Neurobiol. 2012;72:167-85 pubmed publisher
    ..properties and extrinsic, outgrowth site-specific cues during the early stages of abducens and oculomotor nerve development in avian embryos...
  46. Zhang X, Zakir M, Meng H, Sato H, Uchino Y. Convergence of the horizontal semicircular canal and otolith afferents on cat single vestibular neurons. Exp Brain Res. 2001;140:1-11 pubmed
    ..The convergent neurons receiving the HC and otolith inputs may contribute at least partly to the vestibulocollic reflex. ..
  47. Khojasteh E, Bockisch C, Straumann D, Hegemann S. A re-examination of the time constant of the oculomotor neural integrator in human. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2012;2012:4780-3 pubmed publisher
    ..Nevertheless, a consistent trend did not emerge. Consequently, cross subject averaging eliminates idiosyncratic nonlinear patterns and the average can be approximated by a linear function inside the range that was tested. ..
  48. Gaberel T, Borha A, di Palma C, Emery E. Clipping Versus Coiling in the Management of Posterior Communicating Artery Aneurysms with Third Nerve Palsy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. World Neurosurg. 2016;87:498-506.e4 pubmed publisher
    To compare surgical clipping with endovascular coiling in terms of recovery from oculomotor nerve palsy (ONP) in the management of posterior communicating artery (PCoA) aneurysms causing third nerve palsy...
  49. Maneh N, Apétsé K, Diatewa B, Domingo S, Agba A, Ayéna K, et al. [Juvenile myasthenia gravis in sub-Saharan Africa: a case study of two consanguine sisters born from consanguinity in Togo]. Pan Afr Med J. 2017;28:63 pubmed publisher
    ..Ice pack test was strongly positive in both patients. They had Cogan's lid twitch with paresis of the oculomotor nerve without diplopia. The dosage of acetylcholine receptor autoantibodies was normal...
  50. Leon L, Casanova Molla J, Lauria G, Valls Sole J. The somatosensory blink reflex in upper and lower brainstem lesions. Muscle Nerve. 2011;43:196-202 pubmed publisher
    ..The SBR is mediated through circuits in the upper brainstem. Study of the SBR can be helpful in the neurophysiological assessment of patients with mesencephalic lesions. ..
  51. Bonnaud I, Salama J. [An ischemic syndrome of the oculumotor nucleus: associated clinical and anatomical variations on a theme]. Rev Neurol (Paris). 2003;159:781-5 pubmed
    Nuclear syndrome of the oculomotor nerve was first described in 1981, it is characterized by the association of an ipsilateral third nerve palsy with a paresis of elevation in the contralateral eye...
  52. Nakamagoe K, Ishii K, Tamaoka A, Shoji S. Upward gaze-evoked nystagmus with organoarsenic poisoning. Neurology. 2006;66:131-2 pubmed
    ..The characteristic and principal sign is upward gaze-evoked nystagmus. Moreover, vertical gaze holding impairment was shown by electronystagmography on direct current recording. ..
  53. Morrison D, Elsas F, Descartes M. Congenital oculomotor nerve synkinesis associated with fetal retinoid syndrome. J AAPOS. 2005;9:166-8 pubmed
    Isotretinoin (RA), used for the treatment of cystic acne, is a powerful teratogen, causing craniofacial dysmorphisms and neural tube defects. We present two patients with RA embryopathy and oculomotor nerve synkinesis.