The tissue of the spinal cord is similar to that of the brain and is made up of two main types consisting of the highly specialized neurones (nerve cells) with their processes, and the neuroglial cells (Lantos 1990a). Both of these are of neuroectodermal origin in contrast to the second main type of tissue which has an origin in mesoderm and comprises the meninges, the blood vessels and their supporting connective tissue and microglia. Whereas some of the diseases affecting the spinal cord are similar to those seen in other organs, e.g. inflammation, vascular disease and tumours, others are primarily diseases of spinal neurones affecting their cell body, axons and myelin sheaths. Therefore, it follows that because the constituent cells of the spinal cord are similar to those found elsewhere in the nervous system, the disease processes and the tissue reaction in response to them are similar to those found elsewhere in the brain (Hughes 1978; Esiri and Oppenheimer 1989; Lantos 1990b). However, the prevalence of the various disease processes in the spinal cord differs from that found elsewhere in the brain.
KeywordsSpinal Cord Multiple Sclerosis Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Nucleus Pulposus Motor Neurone Disease
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