Webster, Douglas B. Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Biocommunication, Louisiana State University Medical Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Last reviewed:November 2019
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Any peripheral nerve that has its central nervous system connection with the brain, as opposed to the spinal cord, and reaches the brain through a hole (foramen) in the skull. Nerve fibers are sensory if they carry information from the periphery to the brain, and motor if they carry information from the brain to the periphery. Sensory fibers are classified as somatic sensory if they come from the skin or muscle sense organs, visceral sensory if they come from the viscera, and special sensory if they come from special sense organs such as the eye and ear. Motor fibers are classified as somatic motor if they carry information to somatic striated muscles; general visceral motor if they carry information to glands, smooth muscle, or cardiac muscle; and special visceral motor if they carry information to visceral striated muscle. A cranial nerve may have only one fiber type or several; cranial nerves with several fiber types are called mixed nerves.
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