- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Edinger-Westphal nucleus

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The accessory nucleus of the 3rd oculomotor nerve. It is a small group of nerve cells located just inside the oculomotor nuclei. This nucleus supplies pre-ganglionic parasympathetics to the eye, which constrict the pupil and accommodate the lens. The fibres travel in the IIIrd nerve, so damage to that nerve will also produce a dilated pupil.

Edinger first demonstrated the nucleus in the foetus in 1885, in the adult by Westphal in 1887.


  • L. Edinger, in:
    Archiv für Psychiatrie und Nervenkrankheiten, Berlin, 1885; 16: 858-889. (17)
    Neurologisches Centralblatt, Leipzig, 1885, 4: 309. (41)
  • C. F. O. Westphal:
    Ueber einen Fall von chronischer progressiver Lähmung der Augenmuskeln (Ophthalmoplegia externa) nebst Beschreibung von Ganglienzellengruppen im Bereiche des Oculomotoriuskerns.
    Archiv für Psychiatrie und Nervenkrankheiten, Berlin, 1887, 18: 846-871.

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