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On the whole, the posterior regions are responsible for sensory functions and the anterior regions are associated with motor functions. This comes from the initial development of the spinal cord, which is divided into the basal plate    and the alar plate    . The basal plate is closest to the ventral midline of the neural tube, which will become the anterior face of the spinal cord and gives rise to motor neurons. The alar plate is on the dorsal side of the neural tube and gives rise to neurons that will receive sensory input from the periphery.

The length of the spinal cord is divided into regions that correspond to the regions of the vertebral column. The name of a spinal cord region corresponds to the level at which spinal nerves pass through the intervertebral foramina. Immediately adjacent to the brain stem is the cervical region, followed by the thoracic, then the lumbar, and finally the sacral region. The spinal cord is not the full length of the vertebral column because the spinal cord does not grow significantly longer after the first or second year, but the skeleton continues to grow. The nerves that emerge from the spinal cord pass through the intervertebral formina at the respective levels. As the vertebral column grows, these nerves grow with it and result in a long bundle of nerves that resembles a horse’s tail and is named the cauda equina    . The sacral spinal cord is at the level of the upper lumbar vertebral bones. The spinal nerves extend from their various levels to the proper level of the vertebral column.

Gray horns

In cross-section, the gray matter of the spinal cord has the appearance of an ink-blot test, with the spread of the gray matter on one side replicated on the other—a shape reminiscent of a bulbous capital “H.” As shown in [link] , the gray matter is subdivided into regions that are referred to as horns. The posterior horn    is responsible for sensory processing. The anterior horn    sends out motor signals to the skeletal muscles. The lateral horn    , which is only found in the thoracic, upper lumbar, and sacral regions, is the central component of the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system.

Some of the largest neurons of the spinal cord are the multipolar motor neurons in the anterior horn. The fibers that cause contraction of skeletal muscles are the axons of these neurons. The motor neuron that causes contraction of the big toe, for example, is located in the sacral spinal cord. The axon that has to reach all the way to the belly of that muscle may be a meter in length. The neuronal cell body that maintains that long fiber must be quite large, possibly several hundred micrometers in diameter, making it one of the largest cells in the body.

Cross-section of spinal cord

This figure shows the cross section of the spinal cord. The top panel shows a diagram of the cross section and the major parts are labeled. The bottom panel shows an ultrasound image of the spinal cord cross section.
The cross-section of a thoracic spinal cord segment shows the posterior, anterior, and lateral horns of gray matter, as well as the posterior, anterior, and lateral columns of white matter. LM × 40. (Micrograph provided by the Regents of University of Michigan Medical School © 2012)

Questions & Answers

Examples of glial cells?
Nesh Reply
what is homeostasis
Laura Reply
homeostasis- The ability to maintain relatively stable internal conditions even though the outside world changes continuously. i,e, maintaining normal values in your body such as Adequate blood levels,blood pressure, heart activity and blood pressure.
Williams
thank you
Laura
Give atleast three reasons to study anatomy and physiology
George Reply
It helps to know about the body structure properly and administer proper care for the patient
Opeyemi
what's augmentin
Aphet Reply
augmentin is a type of combination antibiotic.
wintana
Can you explain to Heart anatomy in details please?
Handren Reply
definition of anatomy and physiology
Sardar Reply
Anatomy is the study structure of the body while physiology is the study of function of the body
Ayan
What is a dorsal cavity?
John Reply
Explain in detail mitosis and meiosis
sedeck Reply
What is Sodium Potassium Pump?
Mwamba Reply
The process of moving sodium and potassium ions across the cell membrance is an active transport process involving the hydrolysis of ATP to provide the necessary energy. It involves an enzyme referred to as Na+/K+-ATPase
USAMA
yes men.
Carlos
does it mean that there are two definitions of gross anatomy
Esther Reply
what is anatomy?
Hridy Reply
I think it's the study of the internal and external features of the body and its physical relationship between body parts
Esther
anatomy is the study of all the structure of body parts of living organisms
Kishan
to study the structure of human body parts
Sardar
anatomy is the study of human body
Meena
jaundice causes by when bilirubin blockage of bilary system
mahamed Reply
Yeah, when there is a blockage in the bilary system( bile ducts) which lead to obstruction of the bile pigments called bilirubin leading to a characteristically yellowish appearance of the eyes.
ibrahim
yes
mahamed
there are three main resons why bilirubin levels in the blood may rise: 1. pre-hepatic jaundice,2. hepatic jaundice, 3. post hepatic
mahamed
hi pls what causes jaundice
Umar Reply
where the love feelings emotions and hate lies in the body?
Loving Reply
what is Regional anatomy
Sharon Reply
to study of the interrelationships to all structures of specific body region
Sardar

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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