Anterior corticospinal tract

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Anterior corticospinal tract
Spinal cord tracts - English.svg
Anterior corticospinal tract seen in red at bottom center in figure (text tag found at upper-left).
Decussation of pyramids. Scheme showing passage of various fasciculi from medulla spinalis to medulla oblongata. a. Pons. b. Medulla oblongata. c. Decussation of the pyramids. d. Section of cervical part of medulla spinalis. 1. Anterior cerebrospinal fasciculus (in red). 2. Lateral cerebrospinal fasciculus (in red). 3. Sensory tract (fasciculi gracilis et cuneatus) (in blue). 3’. Gracile and cuneate nuclei. 4. Antero-lateral proper fasciculus (in dotted line). 5. Pyramid. 6. Lemniscus. 7. Medial longitudinal fasciculus. 8. Ventral spinocerebellar fasciculus (in blue). 9. Dorsal spinocerebellar fasciculus (in yellow).
Latin tractus corticospinalis anterior, fasciculus cerebrospinalis anterior
Gray's p.759
NeuroLex ID Ventral corticospinal tract
TA A14.1.02.205
FMA 73959
Anatomical terminology

The anterior corticospinal tract (also called the ventral corticospinal tract, medial corticospinal tract, direct pyramidal tract, or anterior cerebrospinal fasciculus) is a small bundle of descending fibers that connect the cerebral cortex to the spinal cord. Descending tracts are pathways by which motor signals are sent from the brain to lower motor neurons whcih then directly innervate muscle to produce movement. The anterior corticospinal tract is usually small, varying inversely in size with the lateral corticospinal tract, which is the main part of the corticospinal tract.

It lies close to the anterior median fissure, and is present only in the upper part of the medulla spinalis; gradually diminishing in size as it descends, it ends about the middle of the thoracic region.

It consists of descending fibers that arise from cells in the motor area of the ipsilateral cerebral hemisphere. The impulse travels from these upper motor neurons (located in the pre-central gyrus of the brain) through the anterior column. The pathway decussates in the spinal cord and then synapses at the anterior horn with the lower motor neuron which then synapses with the target muscle at the motor end plate. Similar to the lateral corticospinal tract, the anterior corticospinal tract innervates muscles involved in fine control of the limbs.

A few of its fibers pass to the lateral column of the same side and to the gray matter at the base of the posterior column.[citation needed]

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This article incorporates text in the public domain from the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

  • Saladin, Kenneth S. "The Spinal Cord, Spinal Nerves, and Somatic Reflexes." Anatomy & Physiology: The Unity of Form and Function. 6th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. N. pag. Print.

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