Pharyngeal arches

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Introduction

Embryo Stage 14

The pharyngeal arches (branchial arch, Greek, branchial = gill) are a series of externally visible anterior tissue bands lying under the early brain that give rise to the structures of the head and neck. Each arch though initially formed from similar components will differentiate to form different head and neck structures. In humans, five arches form (1, 2, 3, 4 and 6) but only four are externally visible on the embryo.

Each arch has initially identical structures: an internal endodermal pouch, a mesenchymal (mesoderm and neural crest) core, a membrane (endoderm and ectoderm) and external cleft (ectoderm). Each arch mesenchymal core also contains similar components: blood vessel, nerve, muscular, cartilage.

The arch arteries undergo extensive remodelling during development of the vascular system, in general the inferior arteries have major contributions and superior arteries have minor contributions. The endothelium of arch arteries 1 and 2 has been shown to have different embryonic origin from 3-6 (second heart field).[1]


Note is a draft page and this topic is currently covered in more detail on the Head Development page.



Links: Head Development | Neural Crest Development | Endocrine System Development

Pharyngeal Arch Development

Head arches cartoon.jpg Pharyngeal arch structure cartoon.gifStage13 pharyngeal arch excerpts.gif

  • branchial arch (Gk. branchia= gill)
  • arch consists of all 3 trilaminar embryo layers
  • ectoderm- outside
  • mesoderm- core of mesenchyme
  • endoderm- inside

Pharyngeal Arch Tables

This table gives an overview of what each arch will contribute to the embryo.

Pharyngeal Arch Nerve Artery Neural Crest
(Skeletal Structures)
Muscles Ligaments
1
(maxillary/mandibular)
trigeminal (V) maxillary artery (terminal branches) mandible, maxilla, malleus, incus muscles of mastication, mylohyoid, tensor tympanic, ant. belly digastric ant lig of malleus, sphenomandibular ligament
2
(hyoid)
facial (VII) stapedial (embryonic)

corticotympanic (adult)

stapes, styloid process, lesser cornu of hyoid, upper part of body of hyoid bone muscles of facial expression, stapedius, stylohyoid, post. belly digastric stylohyoid ligament
3 glossopharyngeal (IX) common carotid, internal carotid arteries greater cornu of hyoid, lower part of body of hyoid bone stylopharyngeus
4 vagus (X) superior laryngeal branch part of aortic arch (left), part right subclavian artery (right) thyroid, cricoid, arytenoid, corniculate and cuneform cartilages crycothyroid, soft palate levator veli palatini (not tensor veli palatini)
6 vagus (X) recurrent laryngeal branch part of left pulmonary artery (left), part of right pulmonary artery (right) thyroid, cricoid, arytenoid, corniculate and cuneform cartilages larynx intrinsic muscles (not cricothyroid muscle)
Pharyngeal Arch Derivatives  
Pharyngeal Arch Nerve Artery Neural Crest
(Skeletal Structures)
Muscles Ligaments
1
(maxillary/mandibular)
trigeminal (V) maxillary artery (terminal branches) mandible, maxilla, malleus, incus muscles of mastication, mylohyoid, tensor tympanic, ant. belly digastric ant lig of malleus, sphenomandibular ligament
2
(hyoid)
facial (VII) stapedial (embryonic)

corticotympanic (adult)

stapes, styloid process, lesser cornu of hyoid, upper part of body of hyoid bone muscles of facial expression, stapedius, stylohyoid, post. belly digastric stylohyoid ligament
3 glossopharyngeal (IX) common carotid, internal carotid arteries greater cornu of hyoid, lower part of body of hyoid bone stylopharyngeus
4 vagus (X) superior laryngeal branch part of aortic arch (left), part right subclavian artery (right) thyroid, cricoid, arytenoid, corniculate and cuneform cartilages crycothyroid, soft palate levator veli palatini (not tensor veli palatini)
6 vagus (X) recurrent laryngeal branch part of left pulmonary artery (left), part of right pulmonary artery (right) thyroid, cricoid, arytenoid, corniculate and cuneform cartilages larynx intrinsic muscles (not cricothyroid muscle)

Some Recent Findings

  • Endothelium in the pharyngeal arches 3, 4 and 6 is derived from the second heart field[1] "Oxygenated blood from the heart is directed into the systemic circulation through the aortic arch arteries (AAAs). The AAAs arise by remodeling of three symmetrical pairs of pharyngeal arch arteries (PAAs), which connect the heart with the paired dorsal aortae at mid-gestation. Aberrant PAA formation results in defects frequently observed in patients with lethal congenital heart disease. How the PAAs form in mammals is not understood. The work presented in this manuscript shows that the second heart field (SHF) is the major source of progenitors giving rise to the endothelium of the pharyngeal arches 3 - 6, while the endothelium in the pharyngeal arches 1 and 2 is derived from a different source. During the formation of the PAAs 3 - 6, endothelial progenitors in the SHF extend cellular processes toward the pharyngeal endoderm, migrate from the SHF and assemble into a uniform vascular plexus. This plexus then undergoes remodeling, whereby plexus endothelial cells coalesce into a large PAA in each pharyngeal arch."
More recent papers  
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This table shows an automated computer PubMed search using the listed sub-heading term.

  • Therefore the list of references do not reflect any editorial selection of material based on content or relevance.
  • References appear in this list based upon the date of the actual page viewing.

References listed on the rest of the content page and the associated discussion page (listed under the publication year sub-headings) do include some editorial selection based upon both relevance and availability.

Links: References | Discussion Page | Pubmed Most Recent | Journal Searches


Search term: Pharyngeal Arch

Haoran Zhang, Li Wang, Elaine Yee Man Wong, Sze Lan Tsang, Pin-Xian Xu, Urban Lendahl, Mai Har Sham An Eya1-Notch axis specifies bipotential epibranchial differentiation in mammalian craniofacial morphogenesis. Elife: 2017, 6; PubMed 29140246

Eliézia Helena de Lima Alvarenga, Giovana Piovesan Dall'Oglio, Emi Zuiki Murano, Márcio Abrahão Continuum theory: presbyphagia to dysphagia? Functional assessment of swallowing in the elderly. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol: 2017; PubMed 29124360

Grégoire B Morand, Karma Lambercy, Pierre Guilcher, Kishore B Sandu Congenital pharyngeal webs: Treatment of a rare clinical entity by endoscopic CO2 laser approach. Int. J. Pediatr. Otorhinolaryngol.: 2017, 102;123-126 PubMed 29106858

Stanislas Ballivet de Regloix, O Maurin Retropharyngeal course of the internal carotid artery. J R Army Med Corps: 2017; PubMed 29097551

Nicole Corsten-Janssen, Peter J Scambler Clinical and molecular effects of CHD7 in the heart. Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet: 2017; PubMed 29088513

Neural Crest

  • Mesenchyme invaded by neural crest generating connective tissue components
  • cartilage, bone, ligaments
  • arises from midbrain and hindbrain region

Links: Neural Crest Development

Arch Features

Each arch contains: artery, cartilage, nerve, muscular component

Arches and Phanynx Form the face, tongue, lips, jaws, palate, pharynx and neck cranial nerves, sense organ components, glands

  • Humans have 5 arches - 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 (Arch 5 does not form or regresses rapidly)
  • from in rostro-caudal sequence, Arch 1 to 6 from week 4 onwards
  • arch 1 and 2 appear at time of closure of cranial neuropore
  • Face - mainly arch 1 and 2
  • Neck components - arch 3 and 4 (arch 4 and 6 fuse)

Arch Features

    • arch
    • groove
      • externally separates each arch
        • also called a cleft
      • only first pair persist as external auditory meatus
    • pouch
      • internally separates each arch
      • pockets from the pharynx
    • membrane
      • ectoderm and endoderm contact regions
      • only first pair persist as tympanic membrane
  • Pharyngeal Arch 1 (Mandibular Arch) has 2 prominances
    • smaller upper- maxillary forms maxilla, zygomatic bone and squamous part of temporal
    • larger lower- mandibular, forms mandible
  • Pharyngeal Arch 2 (Hyoid Arch)
    • forms most of hyoid bone
  • Arch 3 and 4
    • neck structures


Embryo Week: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9

Carnegie Stages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | About Stages | Timeline


Pharyngeal Arch 1

Pharyngeal Arch 2

Pharyngeal Arch 3

Pharyngeal Arch 4

Pharyngeal Arch 6

Additional Images

Historic Images

Historic Disclaimer - information about historic embryology pages 
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Pages where the terms "Historic Textbook" and "Historic Embryology" appear on this site, and sections within pages where this disclaimer appears, indicate that the content and scientific understanding are specific to the time of publication. This means that while some scientific descriptions are still accurate, the terminology and interpretation of the developmental mechanisms reflect the understanding at the time of original publication and those of the preceding periods, these terms and interpretations may not reflect our current scientific understanding.     (More? Embryology History | Historic Embryology Papers)

Frazer JE. The second visceral arch and groove in the tubo-tympanic region. (1914) J Anat Physiol. 48(4): 391-408. PMID 17233005

Frazer JE. Development of the larynx. (1910) J Anat. 44: 156-191. PMID 17232839

Keibel F. and Mall FP. Manual of Human Embryology II. (1912) J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia.

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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. 2017 Embryology Pharyngeal arches. Retrieved November 22, 2017, from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Pharyngeal_arches

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© Dr Mark Hill 2017, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G
  1. 1.0 1.1 Xia Wang, Dongying Chen, Kelley Chen, Ali Jubran, AnnJosette Ramirez, Sophie Astrof Endothelium in the pharyngeal arches 3, 4 and 6 is derived from the second heart field. Dev. Biol.: 2017, 421(2);108-117 PubMed 27955943