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Anatomy Atlases: Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 1 - Cells Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 17 - Central Nervous System

Plate 17.316 Spinal Cord

Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., Adel K. Afifi, M.D., Paul M. Heidger, Jr., Ph.D.
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed

Cervical region

Plate 17.316 Spinal Cord

Human, Müller's fluid, carmine stain, 8 x.


Dorsal root: The dorsal root carries both myelinated and unmyelinated afferent fibers to the spinal cord. Each fiber is the central process of a dorsal root ganglion cell.

Posterior gray column: Long and narrow column of gray matter reaches almost to the surface of the spinal cord. Primarily concerned with sensory input.

Anterior gray column: Short and broad column of gray matter. Concerned with motor function. Both posterior and anterior gray columns are sites where sensory and motor cell bodies, respectively, are found.

Ventral root: Bundle of somatic motor fibers (axons of somatic motor neurons) and preganglionic fibers (axons of autonomic motor neurons). Constitute the efferent outflow of the spinal cord.

Anterior median fissure: About 3 mm deep. Contains blood vessels (anterior spinal artery) supplying the anterior two thirds of the cord.

Anterior lateral sulcus: Site of exit of ventral root. Hardly distinguishable in this preparation.

Anterior funiculus: Between the anterior median fissure and anterolateral sulcus (ventral root). Merges with the lateral funiculus. Contains ascending and descending tracts.

Lateral funiculus: Between the dorsal and ventral roots. Merges with the anterior funiculus. Contains ascending and descending tracts.

Posterior lateral sulcus: Site of entry of dorsal root.

Posterior funiculus: Between posterior median sulcus and dorsal root. Contains ascending tracts. Posterior intermediate septum: Found only in cervical and upper thoracic segments. Posterior median sullcus: About 5 mm deep, reaches the deep-lying gray matter.  

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