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Missing Unit One Notes. Hi All, These notes constitute the end of unit one material. See you in open lab on Friday!. Spinal Cord (from Ch. 16, pages 485-492). The spinal cord provides a vital link between the brain and the rest of the body. The spinal cord and its spinal nerves:

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Missing unit one notes

Missing Unit One Notes

Hi All,

These notes constitute the end of unit one material. See you in open lab on Friday!


Spinal cord from ch 16 pages 485 492

Spinal Cord (from Ch. 16, pages 485-492)

The spinal cord provides a vital link between the brain and the rest of the body. The spinal cord and its spinal nerves:

1. Are the main pathway for sensory and motor impulses.

2. Are responsible for reflexes which are the quickest reactions to a stimulus.


Gross anatomy of the spinal cord

Gross Anatomy of the Spinal Cord

Length: 42 -45 cm

Two longitudinal depressions on external surface:

Posterior median sulcus on posterior surface.

Anterior median fissure on anterior surface


Gross anatomy of the spinal cord1

Gross Anatomy of the Spinal Cord

The spinal cord is shorter than the vertebral canal that houses it.

The tapering inferior end of the spinal cord is called the conus medullaris and is the official “end” of the spinal cord, usually at the level of the first lumbar vertebra.


Gross anatomy of the spinal cord2

Gross Anatomy of the Spinal Cord

Inferior to the conus medullaris groups of axons called the cauda equina project inferiorly from the spinal cord.

Within the cauda equina is the filum terminale which is a thin strand of pia mater that helps anchor the conus medullaris to the coccyx.


Gross anatomy of the spinal cord3

Gross Anatomy of the Spinal Cord

The spinal cord is associated with thirty-one pairs of spinal nerves that connect the CNS to muscles, sensory receptors and glands.

Each side contains:

Eight cervical nerves (C1-C8).

Twelve thoracic nerves (T1-T12).

Five lumbar nerves (L1-L5).

Five sacral nerves (S1-S5)

One coccygeal nerve (Co)


Spinal cord meninges

Spinal Cord Meninges

The spinal cord is protected and encapsulated by spinal cord meninges which are continuous with the cranial meninges around the brain.

Some of the spaces between the meningeal layers have clinical significance.


Spinal meninges and structure of the spinal cord

Spinal Meninges and Structure of the Spinal Cord


Spinal cord meninges dura mater arachnoid mater and pia mater

Spinal Cord Meninges(dura mater, arachnoid mater, and pia mater)

The epidural space:

Lies between the dura mater and the bone of the vertebrae.

Houses areolar connective tissue, blood vessels, and adipose tissue.

The dura mater:

Is the most external layer of meninges.

Fuses with the connective layers that surround the spinal nerves.


Spinal cord meninges1

Spinal Cord Meninges

A narrow subdural space separates the dura mater from the arachnoid. This is really only a potential space.

The arachnoid is deep to the dura mater and the subdural space.

The subarachnoid space is a real space filled with cerebrospinal fluid – the fluid surrounding the entire CNS (brain and spinal cord).


Spinal cord meninges2

Spinal Cord Meninges

The pia mater:

The innermost meningeal layer that adheres directly to the spinal cord.

This delicate layer supports some of the blood vessels (mainly capillaries) supplying the spinal cord.

Has paired lateral extensions called denticulate ligaments which attach the spinal cord to the dura mater.


Sectional anatomy of the spinal cord

Sectional Anatomy of the Spinal Cord

The spinal cord is partitioned into an inner gray matter region and an outer white matter region:

Gray matter – made mainly of cell bodies and dendrites of neurons (nerve cells).

White matter – made of myelinated (myelin-covered) axons.


Gray and white components of spinal cord

Gray and White Components of Spinal Cord


Location and distribution of gray matter

Location and Distribution of Gray Matter

Gray Matter:

Centrally located in spinal cord.

Cross-section shape resembles butterfly.

Subdivided into:

Anterior Horns.

Lateral Horns.

Posterior Horns.

Gray Commissure.


Location and distribution of gray matter1

Location and Distribution of Gray Matter

Anterior horns house the cell bodies of somatic motor neurons which innervate skeletal muscle tissue.

Lateral horns:

Contain cell bodies of autonomic motor neurons which innervate cardiac muscle, smooth muscle and glands.


Location and distribution of gray matter2

Location and Distribution of Gray Matter

The posterior horns contain axons of sensory neurons and cell bodies of interneurons.

The gray commissure is the gray matter between right and left sides. It houses the small central canal.


Neuron pathways and nuclei locations

Neuron Pathways and Nuclei Locations


Location and distribution of white matter

Location and Distribution of White Matter

The white matter of the spinal cord is external to the gray matter and is partitioned into three portions, each called a funiculus:

Posterior funiculus

Lateral funiculus

Anterior funiculus

The anterior funiculi are interconnected by the white commissure.

The axons within each funiculus are organized into tracts.


Gray and white components of spinal cord1

Gray and White Components of Spinal Cord


Spinal nerves

Spinal Nerves

Each anterior and posterior root unite within an intervertebral foramen to become a spinal nerve.

Each spinal nerve contains both motor (efferent) and sensory (afferent) neurons.


Spinal nerve distribution

Spinal Nerve Distribution

After leaving the intervertebral foramen, a typical spinal nerve splits into branches called rami. Each ramus contains both sensory and motor neurons!

The posterior (dorsal) ramus is the smaller of the two main branches and innervates intrinsic muscles of the back and the skin of the back.

The anterior (ventral) ramus is the larger of the two main branches. Each innervates the body wall tissues and makes up the nerves of the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS). Examples: Sciatic N, Superior gluteal N


Spinal nerve distribution1

Spinal Nerve Distribution

Additional rami, the rami communicantes, extend between the spinal nerves and the paired sympathetic trunks. These provide communication between somatic and autonomic parts of the nervous system.


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