Ascending and Descending Pathways of the Spinal Cord

  • John C. Rothwell


There are a large number of ascending pathways, all of which have important direct projections to areas of the brain concerned with movement. In this chapter, a short summary of the types of sensory fibre which contribute to each tract, and the cells of origin of the tracts, will be given. The data is mostly from anatomical studies in the cat (and monkey); comparable human studies have not yet been performed.


Vestibular Nucleus Dorsal Column Medial Longitudinal Fasciculus Dorsal Column Nucleus Spinocerebellar Tract 
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References and Further Reading

  1. Brodai, A. (1981) Neurological Anatomy in Relation to Clinical Medicine, Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  2. Brown, A.G. (1981) Organisation in the Spinal Cord, Springer-Verlag, BerlinCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Hassler, R. (1959) ‘Anatomy of the Thalamus’ in G. Shaltenbrand and P. Bailey (eds.), Introduction to Stereotaxis with an Atlas of the Human Brain, Georg Thieme, StuttgartGoogle Scholar
  4. Kuypers, H.G.J.M. (1981) `Anatomy of the Descending Pathways’ in V.B. Brooks (ed.), Handbook of Physiology, Sect. 1, Vol. II, Part 1, Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, pp. 597–666Google Scholar
  5. Lawrence, D.G. and Kuypers, H.G.J.M. (1968) `The Functional Organisation of the Motor System in the Monkey. Parts I and II, Brain, 91,pp. 1–14 and 15–36Google Scholar
  6. Nathan, P.W. and Smith, M.C. (1955) `Long Descending Tracts in Man. I. Review of Present Knowledge, Brain, 78, pp. 248–303Google Scholar
  7. Nathan, P.W. and Smith, M.C. (1992) The Rubrospinal and Central Tegmental Tracts in Man’, Brain, 105,pp. 223–69Google Scholar
  8. Nyberg-Hansen, R. (1965) `Sites and Modes of Termination of Reticulospinal Fibres in the Cat. An Experimental Study with Silver Impregnation Methods’, J. Comp. Neurol., 124, pp. 71–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Oscarsson, O. and Sjkolund, B. (1977) `The Ventral Spino-olivocerebellar System in the Cat. I. Identification of Five Paths and Their Termination in the Cerebellar Anterior Lobe’, Exp. Brain, Res, 28, pp. 469–86Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John C. Rothwell 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • John C. Rothwell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurology, Institute of PsychiatryUniversity of LondonUK

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