Central canal

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Central canal of spinal cord
Medulla spinalis - Section - English.svg
Cross-section through cervical spinal cord.
Medulla spinalis - Substantia grisea - English.svg
Details
LocationCentre of the spinal cord
Identifiers
Latincanalis centralis medullae spinalis
TAA14.1.02.019
FMA78497
Anatomical terminology

The central canal, also known as ependymal canal, is the cerebrospinal fluid-filled space that runs through the spinal cord.[1] The central canal below at the ventricular system of the brain, from which it receives cerebraospinal fluid, and shares the same ependymal lining. The central canal helps to transport nutrients to the spinal cord as well as protect it by cushioning the impact of a force when the spine is affected.

The central canal represents the adult remainder of the central cavity of the neural tube. It generally occludes (closes off) with age.[2]

Structure[edit]

Cross section of central canal

The central canal below at the ventricular system of the brain, beginning at a region called the obex where the fourth ventricle, a cavity present in the brainstem, narrows.

The central canal is located in the anterior third of the spinal cord in the cervical and thoracic regions. In the lumbar spine it enlarges and is located more centrally. At the conus medullaris, where the spinal cord tapers, it is located more posteriorly.

Terminal ventricle[edit]

The terminal ventricle (ventriculus terminalis, fifth ventricle or ampulla caudalis) is the widest part of the central canal of the spinal cord that is located at or near the conus medullaris.[3] It was described by Stilling in 1859 and Krause in 1875.[4] Krause introduced the term fifth ventricle after observation of normal ependymal cells.[4] The central canal expands as a fusiform terminal ventricle, and approximately 8–10 mm in length in the conus medullaris (or conus terminalis).[5] Although the terminal ventricle is visible in the fetus and children, it is usually absent in adults.[3]

Sometimes, the terminal ventricle is observed by MRI or ultrasound in children less than 5 years old.[6]

Microanatomy[edit]

The central canal shares the same ependymal lining as the ventricular system of the brain.

The canal is lined by ciliated, column-shapred cells, outside of which is a band of gelatinous substance, called the substantia gelatinosa centralis (or central gelatinous substance of spinal cord). This gelatinous substance consists mainly of neuroglia, but contains a few nerve cells and fibers; it is traversed by processes from the deep ends of the columnar ciliated cells which line the central canal.

The substantia gelatinosa of Rolando, is located more dorsally.[clarification needed]

Development[edit]

The central canal represents the adult remainder of the central cavity of the neural tube. It generally occludes (closes off) with age.[7]

Function[edit]

The central canal carries cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which it receives from the ventricular system of the brain. The central canal helps to transport nutrients to the spinal cord as well as protect it by cushioning the impact of a force when the spine is affected.

Clinical significance[edit]

Syringomyelia is a disease caused by the blockage of the central canal. Blockage of the central canal usually occurs at the lower cervical and upper thoracic levels. This typically damages white matter fibers that cross in anterior white commissure, leading to the loss of temperature, pain, and motor function at the affected levels on side opposite to the damage.

Other relevant conditions include:

In some cases, the terminal ventricle may cause clinical symptoms due to its expansion.

References[edit]

This article incorporates text in the public domain from page 753 of the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

  1. ^ Saker, E; Henry, BM; Tomaszewski, KA; Loukas, M; Iwanaga, J; Oskouian, RJ; Tubbs, RS (12 December 2016). "The Human Central Canal of the Spinal Cord: A Comprehensive Review of its Anatomy, Embryology, Molecular Development, Variants, and Pathology". Cureus. 8 (12): e927. doi:10.7759/cureus.927. PMID 28097078.
  2. ^ Yasui K, Hashizume Y, Yoshida M, Kameyama T, Sobue G (1999). "Age-related morphologic changes of the central canal of the human spinal cord". Acta Neuropathol. 97 (3): 253–9. doi:10.1007/s004010050982. PMID 10090672.
  3. ^ a b "ventriculus terminalis". radsource.us. July 2008.[unreliable source?]
  4. ^ a b Liccardo G, Ruggeri F, De Cerchio L, Floris R, Lunardi P (June 2005). "Fifth ventricle: an unusual cystic lesion of the conus medullaris". Spinal Cord. 43 (6): 381–4. doi:10.1038/sj.sc.3101712. PMID 15655569.
  5. ^ Williams & Warwick. Gray's Anatomy .THIRTY-SEVENTH EDITION.ISBN 0 443 04177 6[page needed]
  6. ^ Celli P, D'Andrea G, Trillò G, Roperto R, Acqui M, Ferrante L (March 2002). "Cyst of the medullary conus: malformative persistence of terminal ventricle or compressive dilatation?". Neurosurgical Review. 25 (1–2): 103–6. doi:10.1007/s10143-001-0203-8. PMID 11954762.
  7. ^ Yasui K, Hashizume Y, Yoshida M, Kameyama T, Sobue G (1999). "Age-related morphologic changes of the central canal of the human spinal cord". Acta Neuropathol. 97 (3): 253–9. doi:10.1007/s004010050982. PMID 10090672.
  8. ^ a b "imaging in syringohydromyelia". emedicine.medscape. 2018-04-25.