First pharyngeal arch

First pharyngeal arch
First branchial arch
Diagram showing the regions of the adult face and neck related to the fronto-nasal process and the branchial arches.
Under surface of the head of a human embryo about twenty-nine days old.
Latin arcus pharyngeus primus
Gray's subject #13 66
Code TE E5.
MeSH Branchial+Region

The first branchial arch, also called the first pharyngeal arch and mandibular arch, is the first of six branchial arches that develops in fetal life during the fourth week of development.[1] It is located between the stomodeum and the first pharyngeal groove.



This arch divides into a maxillary process and a mandibular process, giving rise to structures including the bones of the lower two-thirds of the face and the jaw. The maxillary process becomes the maxilla (or upper jaw), and palate while the mandibular process becomes the lower jaw. This arch also gives rise to the muscles of mastication.

Meckel's cartilage

Meckel's cartilage forms in the mesoderm of the mandibular process and eventually regresses to form the incus and malleus of the middle ear; the anterior ligament of the malleus and the sphenomandibular ligament. The mandible or lower jaw forms by perichondral ossification using Meckel's cartilage as a 'template', but the mandible does not arise from direct ossification of Meckel's cartilage.


The skeletal elements and muscles are detrived from mesoderm of the pharyngeal arches.

Derivatives of the first arch:

Skeletal elements


Other derivatives

Mucous membrane and glands of the anterior two thirds of the tongue are derived from ectoderm and endoderm of the arch.

Nerve supply

The mandibular and maxillary branches of the trigeminal nerve (CN V) innervate the structures derived from the corresponding processes of the first arch.[2] In some lower animals ,each arch is supplied by two cranial nerves.The nerve of the arch itself runs along the cranial side of the arch and is called post-trematic nerve of the arch.Each arch also receives a branch from the nerve of the succeeding arch called the pre-trematic nerve which runs along the caudal border of the arch.In human embryo,a double innervation is seen only in the first pharyngeal arch.The mandibular nerve is the post-trematic nerve of the first arch and chorda tympani (branch of facial nerve) is the pre-trematic nerve.This double innervation is reflected in the nerve supply of anterior two-thirds of tongue which is derived from the first arch.[3]

Blood supply

The artery of the first arch is the first aortic arch,[4] which partially persists as the maxillary artery.

Additional images


  1. ^ William J. Larsen (2001). Human embryology. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. ISBN 0-443-06583-7
  2. ^ Harris, Edward F., 2002.Craniofacial Growth and Development.
  3. ^ Inderbir Sing,G.P Pal-Human Embryology
  4. ^ McMinn, R., 1994. Last's anatomy: Regional and applied (9th ed).

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • first pharyngeal arch — the first of the pharyngeal arches in the human embryo, later differentiating into the sphenomandibular and anterior malleolar ligaments, malleus, and incus; it also gives rise to two prominences (the maxillary and mandibular prominences), from… …   Medical dictionary

  • second pharyngeal arch — in the human embryo, the pharyngeal arch just caudal to the first pharyngeal arch; it later differentiates into the stapes, styloid process of temporal bone, stylohyoid ligament, lesser horn of the hyoid bone, and cranial part of the hyoid bone.… …   Medical dictionary

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  • Pharyngeal groove — Pattern of the branchial arches. I IV branchial arches, 1 4 branchial pouches (inside) and/or pharyngeal grooves (outside) a Tuberculum laterale b Tuberculum impar c Foramen cecum d Ductus thyreoglossus e Sinus cervicalis …   Wikipedia

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  • first arch syndrome — anomalies, including macrostomia, hemignathia, and deformities of the external ear, resulting from an inhibitory process occurring toward the seventh week of embryonic life and affecting the facial bones derived from the first pharyngeal… …   Medical dictionary

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  • mandibular arch — n the first branchial arch of the vertebrate embryo from which in humans are developed the lower lip, the mandible, the masticatory muscles, and the anterior part of the tongue * * * 1. first pharyngeal a. 2. arcus dentalis mandibularis …   Medical dictionary

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