Function of the spinal cord
The spinal cord consists of gray and white matter . Gray matter mainly contains neurons and glial cells. White matter contains spinal tracts, that connect individual sections of the nervous system with receptors or effectors.
Spinal reflexes[edit | edit source]
The spinal cord represents the lowest reflex center , which is subordinate to the higher divisions of the CNS. It is the center for controlling motor reactions based on information obtained from proprioceptors and exteroreceptors.
Switching function[edit | edit source]
- Connection and integration of efferent signals - leading from the higher divisions of the CNS (reticular formation, basal ganglia, cerebellum and cerebral cortex)to the periphery. For example, in the anterior corners of the spinal cord, motor pathways are connected.
- Switching signals leading from the periphery to the center.
Sensory functions[edit | edit source]
The spinal cord mediates the conduction of afferent signals from peripheral receptors to higher CNS compartments.
Control of some autonomous functions[edit | edit source]
The spinal cord is one of the centers of the nuclei autonomic nervous system. The second center is the nuclei of some cranial nerves - see cranial parasympathetic. In the lateral part of the gray matter of the spinal cord (nucleus intermediolateralis) there are neurons that are included in the afferent and efferent pathways of the autonomic nervous system. In the thoracic and lumbar spinal cord, these neurons are the source of preganglionic sympathetic fibers and in the sacral spinal cord they are the source of preganglionic parasympathetic fibers. The spinal cord therefore participates in the control of vasomotor reactions, cardiac activity, the activity of the digestive tract (defecation), the urinary tract (micturition), the genitals (erection, ejaculation), endocrine glands and skin glands.
Links[edit | edit source]
Related articles[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- MYSLIVEČEK, Jaromír. Základy neurověd. 2. edition. Triton, 2009. 390 pp. ISBN 978-80-7387-088-1.
- KITTNAR, Otomar. Lékařská fyziologie. 1. edition. Grada, 2011. 790 pp. ISBN 978-80-247-3068-4.