Why are horn roots so called

Spinal cord (Medulla spinalis, Spinal cord)

The spinal cord is located inside the spine, the spinal canal.

The average length of the spinal cord in an adult is just under half a meter. Like the brain, it is surrounded by protective skins and is bathed in a special liquid, the liquor.

What is the role of the spinal cord?

The function of the spinal cord is to carry information from the brain to the body and from the body to the brain.

The nerve fibers that take on the former are called efferent pathways, those for conduction of excitation to the brain are called afferent pathways. The gray matter consisting of the nerve cell bodies is located inside the spinal cord and has the shape of a butterfly in cross section. The nerve fiber tracts (white matter) lie around the gray matter.

The gray matter is further subdivided according to its function: the nerve cells of the dorsal horn are responsible for transmitting sensory sensations from the body to the brain. For example, pain and touch stimuli run through them.

Nerve cells of the anterior horn are used for motor skills. Commands from the brain to the muscles are transmitted via the motor neurons located here. Finally, the side horn houses nerve cells of the autonomic (vegetative) nervous system, which is responsible for controlling the internal organs.

What are the roles of spinal nerves?

Nerve fibers emerge from both sides of the spinal cord. These unite to form the so-called spinal nerves, which then emerge from the vertebral canal through spaces in the bony spine. Human beings have 31 spinal nerves. They all contain both the ascending and descending nerve fibers.

The spinal nerves are the interface to the peripheral nervous system. They go into the peripheral nerves, which on the one hand pass on commands from the brain to the muscles, to the skin, to the internal organs, blood vessels, etc. On the other hand, it is there that they receive information for transmission via the spinal cord to the brain.

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Ulrich Kraft, doctor and medical journalist

Status of medical information:

Martin Trepel: Neuroanatomy. Structure and function. Urban & Fischer, 3rd revised edition 2006.

Robert F. Schmidt, Hans-Georg Schaible: Neuro- and sensory physiology. Springer, 5th edition 2005.