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Ganglion high mag.jpg
Micrograph of a ganglion. H&E stain.
SystemNervous system
Anatomical terminology
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. Note the axons growing out of the ganglion.

A ganglion is a nerve cell cluster[1] or a group of nerve cell bodies located in the autonomic nervous system and sensory system, mostly outside the central nervous system except certain nuclei.[2][3] Ganglia house the cell bodies of afferent nerves (input nerve fibers) and efferent nerves (output/motor nerve fibers).

A pseudoganglion looks like a ganglion, but only has nerve fibers and has no nerve cell bodies.


Ganglia are primarily made up of somata and dendritic structures which are bundled or connected. Ganglia often interconnect with other ganglia to form a complex system of ganglia known as a plexus. Ganglia provide relay points and intermediary connections between different neurological structures in the body, such as the peripheral and central nervous systems.

Among vertebrates there are three major groups of ganglia:

In the autonomic nervous system, fibers from the central nervous system to the ganglia are known as preganglionic fibers, while those from the ganglia to the effector organ are called postganglionic fibers.

Basal ganglia[edit]

The term "ganglion" refers to the peripheral nervous system.[4]

However, in the brain (part of the central nervous system), the "basal ganglia" is a group of nuclei interconnected with the cerebral cortex, thalamus, and brainstem, associated with a variety of functions: motor control, cognition, emotions, and learning.

Partly due to this ambiguity, the Terminologia Anatomica recommends using the term basal nuclei instead of basal ganglia; however, this usage has not been generally adopted.


A pseudoganglion is a localized thickening of the main part or trunk of a nerve that has the appearance of a ganglion[5] but has only nerve fibers and no nerve cell bodies.

Pseudoganglia are found in the teres minor muscle[6] and radial nerve.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sadava, David; Heller, H. Craig; Orians, Gordon H.; Purves, William K.; Hillis, David M. (2008). Life: The Science of Biology (8th ed.). W. H. Freeman. p. 943. ISBN 9780716776710.
  2. ^ "ganglion" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  3. ^ Brodal, Per (2010). The Central Nervous System. Oxford University Press. p. 5. ISBN 9780195381153. In the CNS, such a group is called a nucleus and in the peripheral nervous system (PNS), a ganglion.
  4. ^ "UNSW Embryology- Glossary G". Archived from the original on 14 December 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-13.
  5. ^ "pseudoganglion". The Free Dictionary. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  6. ^ Gitlin, G. (Oct 1957). "Concerning the gangliform enlargement (pseudoganglion) on the nerve to the teres minor muscle". Journal of Anatomy. 91 (4): 466–70. PMC 1244902. PMID 13475146.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Ganglia at Wikimedia Commons