abducens nucleus, nucleus of abducent nerve, nucleus abducentis

a group of motor neurons in the lower part of the pons, innervating the lateral rectus muscle of the eye; unique among motor cranial nerve nuclei in that it consists of two distinct populations of neurons: neurons that give rise to fibers forming the abducens nerve root and those internuclear neurons whose processes cross the midline, ascend in the opposite medial longitudinal fasciculus, and terminate upon specific oculomotor neurons; considered a primary center for mechanisms controlling conjugate horizontal gaze. Syn: nucleus nervi abducentis [NA].