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Encyclopedia > Anterior spinothalamic tract

The spinothalamic tract is the sensory pathway in the body that transmits pain, temperature, itch and crude touch. These types of sensation cross over to the other side of the body at the spinal cord, not in the brainstem like the posterior column-medial lemniscus pathway and corticospinal tract.


The name spinothalamic tells us sensation runs up the spinal cord to the thalamus, this is true but misleading, as all sensory pathways synapse at the thalamus.


There are two main parts of the spinothalamic tract (STT). The lateral spinothalamic tract transmits pain and temperature, the anterior (or ventral in animals) spinothalamic tract transmits touch.


The types of sensory information trasmitted via the STT are described as affective sensation. This means that the sensation is accompanied by a compulsion to act. For instance an itch is accompanied by a need to scratch, and a painful stimulus makes us want to withdraw from the pain.


Path of sensation

Unipolar neurons (those with only one long process) in the dorsal root ganglion have axons that lead from the skin, into the dorsal spinal cord where they synapse with secondary neurons in the marginal nucleus. These secondary neurons are called tract cells.


The axons of the tract cells cross over to the other side of the spinal cord via the white commissure, and to the ventrolateral corner of the spinal cord. The axons travel up the length of the spinal cord into the brainstem.


Travelling up the brainstem, the tract moves dorsally, as the neurons ultimately synapse with the thalamus.


  Results from FactBites:
 
Anterior spinothalamic tract - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (193 words)
Diagram of the principal fasciculi of the spinal cord.
The ventral spinothalamic fasciculus (or anterior spinothalamic tract) situated in the marginal part of the funiculus and intermingled more or less with the vestibulo-spinal fasciculus, is derived from cells in the posterior column or intermediate gray matter of the opposite side.
This is a somewhat doubtful fasciculus and its fibers are supposed to end in the thalamus and to conduct certain of the touch impulses.
Spinothalamic tract - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (296 words)
The spinothalamic tract is the sensory pathway in the body that transmits pain, temperature, itch and crude touch.
The name spinothalamic tells us sensation runs up the spinal cord to the thalamus; this is true but misleading, as all sensory pathways (with the exception of the olfactory sensory pathway) synapse at the thalamus.
The axons of the tract cells cross over to the other side of the spinal cord via the anterior white commissure, and to the anterolateral corner of the spinal cord (hence the spinothalamic tract being part of the anterolateral system).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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