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THE HUMAN CNS - SPINAL

CORD
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Brain lateral view

THE HUMAN CNS


The human CNS is an
over-blown tube.
During development the
simple tubular structure
expands.
Differential growth at
rostral and caudal ends.

NEURAL TUBE DEFECTS


Failure of the neural tube
to close may cause
spina bifidia
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Or anencephaly

Spina bifidia and anencephaly

Folic acid prevents most


NTDs

PRIMARY BRAIN VESICLES


Vesicles are fluid-filled
swellings at the rostral
end of the neural tube.

Early vesicles expand and


grow differentially.
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Lateral view

SECONDARY BRAIN VESICLES


Flexions and
outpocketings
continue

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Lateral view

THE SPINAL CORD

Retains tubular nature

Transverse section shows


White and gray matter (process /
neuronal cell bodies) around a central
canal

Encased in bony vertebrae

THE SPINAL CORD


From the spinal cord extend
sets of nerve roots
Dorsal roots and ventral roots

Dorsal root carries sensory


input in
Ventral root carries motor
commands out

THE SPINAL CORD INTERNEURONS


Interneurons may connect between sensory and motor
neurons

Important in reflexes

SPINAL CORD COLUMNS


Many pathways run up / down spinal cord
Ascending and descending pathways

SPINAL CORD COLUMNS


Pathways may have multiple connections (orders,
upper and lower) and many cross over.

THE MENINGES OF THE SPINAL


CORD
Cord is protected by
layers of membrane
Pia mater
Arachnoid
Dura mater

Continuous with those of


the brain

THE MENINGES OF THE BRAIN


Dura splits
into two

CEREBROSPINAL FLUID
CSF flows in the central canal, brain ventricles and
subarachnoid space

CSF floats and cushions the CNS

SAMPLING CSF
CSF composition gives important information on
the state of the CNS
CSF can be sampled by lumbar puncture
Needle inserted between 3rd and 4th lumbar
vertebrae

DISORDERS OF CSF FLUID FLOW


Disturbances in fluid flow may evoke hydrocephalus
External

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Human
hydrocephalus infant

Internal
Increase in intracranial pressure causes cell
death

BLOOD-BRAIN BARRIER
Physiological barrier

Capillary endothelial cells


Tight junctions
Astrocytes

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BBB
composition

KEY POINTS
Whats the neural tube? What if it doesnt form?
What are the vesicles? What do they form into?
Remember the cells, structures and connections of the
spinal cord
What are the meninges?
Where is CSF formed? What happens if it doesnt flow?
Whats the blood brain barrier?