The main difference between pons and medulla oblongata is that pons occurs inferior to the midbrain and superior to the medulla oblongata, whereas medulla oblongata occurs below the pons and inferior to the cerebellum.
Generally, pons and medulla oblongata are two structures of the midbrain. Generally, the midbrain is responsible for vision, hearing, sleep, wakefulness, and temperature regulation.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Pons
– Definition, Anatomy, Function
2. What is Medulla Oblongata
– Definition, Anatomy, Function
3. Similarities Between Pons and Medulla Oblongata
– Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Pons and Medulla Oblongata
– Comparison of Key Differences
Pons, Medulla Oblongata
What is Pons
Pons is a part of the brainstem that occurs inferior to the midbrain, inferior to the medulla oblongata, and anterior to the cerebellum. The inferior pontine sulcus is the separating groove between the pons and medulla oblongata. In addition, the superior pontine sulcus separates the pons from the midbrain. The length of the pons is around 2.5 cm. Generally, the metencephalon is the structure that gives rise to the pons. The dorsal pons and the ventral pons are the two types of pons.
Furthermore, dorsal pons contains many nuclei of the nearby cranial nerves while ventral pons contains a large amount of white matter. There are also four cranial nerves that originate from the pons. They include the trigeminal nerve (IX), vagus nerve (X), accessory nerve (XI), and hypoglossal nerve (XII). Function-wise, it contains neural pathways and tracts that conduct signals from the brain to the cerebellum. In addition, it contains the neural pathways to the thalamus.
What is Medulla Oblongata
The medulla oblongata is the long-stem-like structure that makes up the lower part of the brain. The location of the medulla oblongata is anterior and partially inferior to the cerebellum. The medulla oblongata is a cone-shaped structure responsible for the autonomic functions of the body, including vomiting and sneezing. In addition, it deals with other autonomic functions, including breathing, heart rate, cardiac, blood pressure, and sleep and wake cycle.
Moreover, the myelencephalon is the structure from which the medulla oblongata develops. The two parts of the medulla oblongata are the upper open part and the lower closed part. The main function of the medulla oblongata is playing a critical role in the transmission of signals between the higher parts of the brain and the spinal cord.
Similarities Between Pons and Medulla Oblongata
- Generally, pons and medulla oblongata are two structures of the midbrain responsible for vision, hearing, sleep, wakefulness, and temperature regulation.
- Both structures occur in the passage of sensory information from the body to the brain.
- Moreover, both structures are responsible for autonomic functions.
Difference Between Pons and Medulla Oblongata
Pons refers to the part of the brainstem that links the medulla oblongata and the thalamus while medulla oblongata refers to the continuation of the spinal cord within the skull, forming the lowest part of the brainstem and containing control centers for the heart and lungs.
Pons occurs inferior to medulla oblongata while medulla oblongata occurs anterior to the cerebellum.
Pons affects the hearing, sensation of the skin, movement of eyes, taste in the mouth, etc. while medulla oblongata is responsible for breathing and pumping.
In brief, pons and medulla oblongata are two structures of the brainstem. Pons occurs inferior to the medulla oblongata. It also connects the medulla oblongata to the thalamus. The main functions of the pons are hearing, sensations of the skin, taste in the mouth, etc. Medulla oblongata, on the other hand, occurs anterior to the cerebellum. In addition, the main function of the medulla oblongata is being responsible for breathing and pumping. Therefore, the main difference between pons and medulla oblongata is their position and function.
- “Pons.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.,
- “Medulla Oblongata.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., .
- “1311 Brain Stem” By OpenStax – Own work (CC BY 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
- “Gray708” By lyhana8 – Own Work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia