Function Of Pons In The Brain

The Pons serves a specific function in the brain, it sorts and relays messages between different sections of the brain. Specifically, the Pons relays messages between the cortex in the brain and the cerebellum.

Our brain is absolutely incredible and is what ultimately makes humans human. All the parts of the brain are extremely important, but the Pons stands out just a little more than some of the other parts. Check out this guide to learn all about the Pons.

The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around. – Thomas A. Edison

Parts Of The Brain And The Function Of Pons

The brain is comprised of 3 major sections; the forebrain, the midbrain, and the hindbrain. The forebrain is comprised of: the thalamus, the cerebrum, and the hypothalamus. The midbrain houses the tegmentum and the tectum. Finally, the hindbrain consists of the cerebellum, medulla, and the pons (these are also referred to as the brainstem). There are also 4 lobes: the occipital lobe, temporal lobe, frontal lobe, and finally the parietal¬†lobe. Let’s cover what each portion of the brain does:

  • Temporal lobe: this lobe is associated with hearing, speech, memory, and it also has a part of emotions
  • Occipital lobe: this lobe is responsible for vision
  • Frontal lobe: involved with emotion, reasoning, movement, judgment, and planning
  • Parietal lobe: involved with movement, recognition, sense of touch, language, and even temperature
  • Thalamus: the thalamus receives sensory information that it then sends to the cerebral cortex. Think of it as a relay station
  • Cerebrum: comprised of different parts, is responsible for learning, memory, language, sensory processing, smell, and movement
  • Hypothalamus:¬†this controls body temperature, hunger, thirst, emotion, and sleep
  • Tegmentum:¬†involved in motor function and controls movement
  • Tectum:¬†the tectum is involved in auditory and visual functions
  • Cerebellum:¬†is responsible for¬†movement and coordination
  • Medulla oblongata:¬†besides being responsible for why alligators are so cranky, the medulla oblongata controls breathing, digestion, sneezing, swallowing, and heart function

Every single part of the brain is important, and as you can see they all work together to ensure our survival. The Pons is yet another extremely important part of the brain. Let’s go over it.

The Brain’s Pons And Its Function

Just like the thalamus is a relay station, well, so is the Pons. The Pons is one of the most interesting parts of the brain (to me at least) because¬†it serves multiple purposes. (1) It serves as a relay station for the cerebellum and the cerebrum, (2) it is an origin point for different nerves, and (3) it has a massive role in involuntary functions. Let’s go over those roles:

Role 1: Relay Station

The location of the Pons makes it the perfect relay station between the medulla oblongata and the thalamus. The Pons is situated on the uppermost part of the brainstem, meaning it is part of what connects the brainstem to the brain. Because of its position, it is part of what relays messages from the cortex to the cerebellum (which is responsible for movement). While there are multiple reasons that humans could not survive without the Pons, one of the major reasons why we wouldn’t live is because¬†without the Pons no messages and relays would be transmitted to other parts of our brain.

Role 2: Nerve Origin Point

The Pons also serves as a point of origin for multiple different nerves. Those nerves are the trigeminal nerve, the abducens nerve, the facial nerve, and the vestibulocochlear nerve. Let’s go over what each of those nerves are and what they do.

  • Trigeminal nerve (CN V): This nerve is responsible for motor functions and sensation in the face
    • Motor functions include chewing
    • This is the largest cranial nerve and branches off to 3 other nerves
      • The Ophthalmic nerve, the Mandibular nerve, and the Maxillary nerve
  • Abducens nerve (CN VI): This nerve is actually responsible for looking outward
    • Originates at the junction of the medulla and the Pons
    • Think of this as the nerve being responsible for giving the side eye
  • Facial nerve (CN VII):¬†One of the most important nerves in the face, this nerve is responsible for facial expression, taste, and controls the tongue
    • This controls all muscles involved in facial expression
  • Vestibulocochlear nerve (CN VIII):¬†This is yet another important nerve because it deals with sound and equilibrium
    • It transmits sound from the ear
    • Also deals with the balance from the inner ear
    • Consists of the cochlear nerve and the vestibular nerve

As you can see these are all very important nerves that control just about everything to do with our face. If the Pons is damaged at all then there are some serious effects that it can have on multiple different parts of your face, possibly rendering someone immobile.

Role 3: Involuntary Functions

Finally, the Pons controls involuntary bodily functions. The Pons controls intensity and frequency of breathing and also controls our sleep and consciousness cycle. Many researchers believe that the Pons plays a major role in REM sleep where dreams occur. By studying and doing experiments scientists believe that dreaming actually originates from the Pons, so next time you have a bad or weird dream blame your Pons for acting up.

Can We Live Without Our Brain’s Pons?

While humans can live without a gallbladder, lung, and even a kidney, there are certain organs and parts of our bodies that we cannot live without. The Pons is one of those parts that we cannot live without. If you were to remove anything above the brainstem your body could theoretically survive, but if anything below the brainstem is gone you would not be able to survive.

The brainstem is what “houses” all of our primary functions, such as breathing, which the Pons is responsible for. Because of the part that the Pons plays in hearing, eating, facial expression, and eye movement, the Pons is NOT something you could live without. It relays messages throughout the brain and controls too many important vital functions we as human beings need.

You may have heard stories about people who have had traumatic brain injuries (like railroad ties through their head) and survived, well it is because their brainstem wasn’t touched. If those injuries involved anything to do with the brainstem they would die pretty quickly since that stem is so important.

Comment (1)

  1. Dear Broome Kate, thats for the information it’s help my alot with my senior project. thank you so much with much love to you.
    senserly, your new friend.

Speak Your Mind!

READ THIS NEXT

A Novel Intervention Technology To Kill Deadly Bacteria On Cantaloupe Rinds Using Blue Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

A study conducted by food microbiologists from National University of Singapore and Korea National University of Transportation shows that blue […]

Trading Reproductive Potential For Survival? How Acidification Could Affect A Key Crustacean In The Future Ocean

The climate is changing. This dire scenario is slowly starting to be felt all around the world, with global temperature […]

NASA Confirms: Living Aboard The International Space Station Changed Scott Kelly’s DNA

Although it is almost a given that the DNA that we are all born with does not change throughout our […]

Might Accurate Heartbeat Perception Increase the Risk for Alcoholism?

Many individuals cope with anxiety by consuming alcohol. Because alcohol effectively reduces tension, the drinking is reinforced and, with time, […]

Zika Virus And Brain Congenital Malformations: Some Insights On Current Problems

In 2015, a large number of cases of Zika virus (ZIKV) infection were reported in Brazil. Until that moment, ZIKV […]

A Look Into The Off-Target Protein That Mistakenly Harbors Erectile Dysfunction Drugs

Humans perceive vision via a specialized tissue at the back of our eye known as the retina. The retina is […]

World Map: Explore The World Around You

Take a look at the world map and you’ll immediately realize just how diverse, expansive, and varied our world really […]