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Encyclopedia > Spinothalamic tract
Brain: Spinothalamic tract
Spinothalamic tract is 5, in blue at right.
Diagram of the principal fasciculi of the spinal cord. (Anterior and posterior spinothalamic fasciculus is labeled at bottom left.)
Gray's subject #185 760
NeuroNames ancil-114

The spinothalamic tract is a sensory pathway originating in the spinal cord. It transmits information to the thalamus about pain, temperature, itch and crude touch. The pathway decussates at the level of the spinal cord, rather than in the brainstem like the posterior column-medial lemniscus pathway and corticospinal tract. Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Image File history File links Gray672. ... NeuroNames is a system of nomenclature for the brain and related structures. ... The thalamus (from Greek θάλαμος = bedroom, chamber, IPA= /ˈθæləməs/) is a pair and symmetric part of the brain. ... Look up Pain in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see Temperature (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Itch (disambiguation). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Decussation is used in biological contexts to describe a crossing. ... The Spinal cord nested in the vertebral column. ... The brain stem is the stalk of the brain below the cerebral hemispheres. ... The posterior column-medial lemniscus pathway is the sensory pathway responsible for transmitting fine touch and conscious proprioceptive information from the body to the cerebral cortex. ... The corticospinal or pyramidal tract is a massive collection of axons that travel between the cerebral cortex of the brain and the spinal cord. ...


The cell bodies of neurons that make up the spinothalamic tract are located principally within the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. These neurons receive input from sensory fibers that innervate the skin and internal organs.

Contents

Tracts

There are two main parts of the spinothalamic tract (STT):

The spinothalamic tract is the sensory pathway in the body that transmits pain, temperature, itch and crude touch. ... Look up Pain in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see Temperature (disambiguation). ... The spinothalamic tract is the sensory pathway in the body that transmits pain, temperature, itch and crude touch. ...

Information transmitted

The types of sensory information transmitted via the spinothalamic tract 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. An affective sensation is a sensation accompanied with a strong compulsion to act on it, causing reflex actions such as the scratch reflex or the withdrawal reflex. ...


Sub-systems

There are two sub-systems identified:

  • Direct (for direct conscious appreciation of pain)
  • Indirect (for affective and arousal impact of pain). Indirect projections include

The reticular activating system is the name given to part of the brain (the reticular formation and its connections) believed to be the center of arousal and motivation in animals (including humans). ...

Path of sensation

The Spinothalamic Tract, like the Dorsal Column-Medial Lemniscus Tract, use three neurons to convey sensory information from the periphery to conscious level at the cerebral cortex. The posterior column-medial lemniscus pathway is the sensory pathway responsible for transmitting fine touch and conscious proprioceptive information from the body to the cerebral cortex. ...


Pseudounipolar 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. This article is about cells in the nervous system. ... This is a dorsal root ganglion (DRG) from a chicken embryo (around stage of day 7) after incubation overnight in NGF growth medium stained with anti-neurofilament antibody. ... This article is about the organ. ... The Spinal cord nested in the vertebral column. ... Illustration of the major elements in a prototypical synapse. ...


The axons of the tract cells cross over (decussate) 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). The axons travel up the length of the spinal cord into the brainstem. Pain travels through spinothalamic tracts, and crosses over in the spinal cord at the point it enters, and then travels up contralaterally. The Anterior Commissure (precommissure) is a bundle of white fibers, connecting the two cerebral hemispheres across the middle line, and placed in front of the columns of the fornix. ... The spinothalamic tract is the sensory pathway in the body that transmits pain, temperature, itch and crude touch. ... The brain stem is the stalk of the brain below the cerebral hemispheres. ...


Traveling up the brainstem, the tract moves dorsally. The neurons ultimately synapse with third-order neurons in several nuclei of the thalamus -- including the medial dorsal, ventral posterior lateral, and ventral medial posterior nuclei. From there, signals go to the cingulate cortex, the primary somatosensory cortex, and insular cortex respectively. The cingulate cortex is a part of the brain situated in the medial aspect of the cortex. ... The postcentral gyrus is a prominent structure in the parietal lobe of the human brain and an important landmark. ... The insular cortex (also often referred to as just the insula) is a structure of the human brain. ...


Lesions

Unilateral lesion usually causes contralateral anaesthesia (loss of pain) and temperature. Anaesthesia will normally begin 1-2 segments below the level of lesion, affecting all caudal body areas. This is clinically tested by using pin pricks. Anesthesia (AE), also anaesthesia (BE), is the process of blocking the perception of pain and other sensations. ...


External links

  • spinothalamic+tract at eMedicine Dictionary

  Results from FactBites:
 
Enhanced Phosphorylation of NMDA Receptor 1 Subunits in Spinal Cord Dorsal Horn and Spinothalamic Tract Neurons after ... (6309 words)
Burstein R, Dado RJ, Giesler GJ (1990) The cells of origin of the spinothalamic tract of the rat: a quantitative reexamination.
Dougherty PM, Palecek J, Paleckova V, Sorkin LS, Willis WD (1992a) The role of NMDA and non-NMDA excitatory amino acid receptors in the excitation of primate spinothalamic tract neurons by mechanical, chemical, thermal, and electrical stimuli.
Sluka KA, Rees H, Chen PS, Tsuruoka M, Willis WD (1997) Inhibitors of G-proteins and protein kinases reduce the sensitization to mechanical stimulation and the desensitization to heat of spinothalamic tract neurons induced by intradermal injection of capsaicin in the primate.
Sensory > Anatomy (649 words)
By the time the medial lemniscus reaches the rostral pons it has moved laterally and at this point it is in close proximity to the spinothalamic tract as it ascends to the VPL of the thalamus.
The ST tract is lateral in the cord and lower brainstem while the DCML system is dorsal and medial in the cord and medial in the lower brainstem.
The descending trigeminal tract is ipsilateral to its origin and axons from the 2nd order neurons cross at the lower medulla-upper cervical spinal cord level.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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