Anterior horn of spinal cord

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Anterior horn (spinal cord)
Medulla spinalis - Section - English.svg
Latin Cornu anterius medullae spinalis
Gray's p.753
FMA FMA:256541
Anatomical terminology

The anterior horn of the spinal cord (also called the anterior cornu, anterior column or ventral horn) is the ventral (front) grey matter section of the spinal cord. It is one of the three grey columns. The anterior horn contains motor neurons that affect the axial muscles while the posterior horn receives information regarding touch and sensation. The anterior horn is the spinal cord horn where the cell bodies of alpha motor neurons are located.


The anterior column (anterior cornu, anterior horn), directed forward, is broad and of a rounded or quadrangular shape. Its posterior part is termed the base, and its anterior part the head, but these are not differentiated from each other by any well-defined constriction. It is separated from the surface of the medulla spinalis by a layer of white substance which is traversed by the bundles of the anterior nerve roots. In the thoracic region, the postero-lateral part of the anterior column projects laterally as a triangular field, which is named the lateral column (columna lateralis; lateral cornu).

Clinical significance[edit]

It is these cells that are affected in the so-called "anterior horn diseases",[citation needed] namely amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease, progressive muscular atrophy, all spinal muscular atrophies, poliomyelitis, and West Nile virus.

Pharmacological interaction[edit]

The anterior horn of the spinal cord is the target for some spasmolytic medications. Norepinephrine release here, (as induced by cyclobenzaprine) reduces spasms by innervation (reducing nerve activity) of alpha motor neurons via interaction with gamma fibers.[1]

See also[edit]

Additional images[edit]


This article incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy.

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