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Definition of «Chorda tympani»

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Chorda tympani: A branch of the facial nerve (the seventh cranial nerve) that serves the taste buds in the front of the tongue, runs through the middle ear, and carries taste messages to the brain.

The chorda tympani is part of one of three cranial nerves that are involved in taste. The taste system involves a complicated feedback loop, with each nerve acting to inhibit the signals of other nerves. The chorda tympani appears to exert a particularly strong inhibitory influence on other taste nerves, as well as on pain fibers in the tongue. When the chorda tympani is damaged, its inhibitory function is disrupted, leading to less inhibited activity in the other nerves.

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