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Lab 9

Anatomy of Spinal Cord and


Spinal Nerves, Reflexes, and
Reaction Time and Learning
Joseph R. Schiller, Ph.D., James F. Thompson, Ph.D., and Gilbert Pitts, Ph.D.
Lab 9 Activities
1. identify structures on spinal cord slide
2. identify spinal cord model (on nerve tree
as well)
3. identify major nerve plexuses on nerve
tree (cervical, brachial, lumbar, + sacral)
4. somatic, superficial, and autonomic
reflexes (stretch reflex, Babinski, pupillary
+ ciliospinal)
5. Biopac Lesson 11 – Reaction Time and
Learning
Identifying Structures of the
Spinal Cord
• Gray Matter forms an “H” shaped region deep to and
surrounded by peripheral white matter fiber tracts
Spinal Cord Gray Matter
• posterior = dorsal (gray) horns: sensory axonal endings
synapse with interneurons
• anterior = ventral (gray) horns: somatic motor neuron cell
bodies
• lateral (gray) horns: visceral = autonomic motor neuron cell
bodies
Spinal Cord with Dorsal Root
Spinal Cord, c.s., silver stain, 40x

• different histological
preparations and
different stains have
variable appearances
• this one uses silver
stain, producing a nice
contrast between the
white and gray matter
• if you don’t have the
silver stained cord in
your slide box, take a
look at your classmate’s
Spinal Cord, c.s., Masson, 40x

• This slide also provides


good contrast
• posterior/dorsal horn
• gray commissure
• central canal
• anterior/ventral horn
Spinal Cord, c.s., Thoracic, 40x

• gray commissure

• lateral horn
Lining of the Central Canal
• ependymal cells
• in central canal
Anatomy of Nerves
• bundles/fascicles of
axons & dendrites
 endoneurium – around
individual processes

 perineurium
 around fascicles
 individual nerve fibers with
their endoneurium

 epineurium - outermost
covering around entire
peripheral nerve
31 Pairs of
Spinal Nerves
• all are mixed (m/s) nerves
• thousands of fibers per
spinal nerve
• each pair serves a particular
region of the body, but
overlaps some with the
region supplied by the spinal
nerve above and below it
(redundancy)
Spinal Nerve Anatomy
• Spinal nerves are
very short, they
divide almost
immediately
 dorsal ramus -
supplies posterior
body trunk
 ventral ramus -
supplies the rest
of body trunk
and the limbs
 meningeal branch
- supplies the
meninges and
blood vessels
within meninges
Dorsal and Ventral Rami of a
Typical Spinal Nerve
Dermatomes
• areas of skin
innervated by the
cutaneous
branches of each
pair of spinal
nerves
• each pair also
provides some
service to the
region of the
spinal nerve
above and the
spinal nerve
below
(redundancy)
Reflex Activity
• a reflex is a rapid, predictable, automatic response to
a stimulus
• it is unlearned, unpremeditated, and involuntary
• one is conscious of somatic reflexes only after they
occur
• they are involved in homeostasis
• two fundamental types of reflexes
 somatic reflexes - produce contraction of skeletal
muscle
 autonomic (visceral) reflexes
 generally, they are not perceived consciously
 produce responses by smooth muscle, cardiac muscle, or
glands
Components of a Reflex Arc

• 5 functional components:
1) receptor - dendrites or other sensory structures respond to
changes in the internal or external environment
2) sensory neuron - conducts from a receptor to axon terminals
3) integrating center (region within the CNS)
 simple - monosynaptic (2 cells only: sensory and motor neurons)
 complex – polysynaptic (> 2 cells: interneurons involved)
4) motor neuron - impulses from integrating center to effector
5) effector - body part (muscle or gland) which responds to the
motor nerve impulse
Stretch Reflexes
• receptors - muscle spindles
and Golgi tendon organs
 sensory mechanoreceptors
which respond to stretching
 increased tension
(stretching) stimulates the
receptors
 sends proprioceptive inputs
to the spinal cord
• contraction of the skeletal
muscle reduces tension on
the muscle spindle
 lowers the rate of action
potential generation
 decreases input to the spinal
cord and higher centers:
cortex and cerebellum
Stretch Reflexes
• Remember that if
a muscle is being
stretched, the
stretch is caused
by the contraction
of its antagonist.
• This sensory
proprioception
information
contributes to
maintaining
proper muscle
tone.
• monosynaptic
Patellar • ipsilateral (same side)

Reflex •

segmental (at one level of the spinal cord)
polysynaptic component – for reciprocal
inhibition of the antagonist
Golgi (Deep) Tendon Reflex
• with an increase in muscle tension,
receptors (Golgi tendon organ) in the
tendon are activated
• the muscle relaxes and lengthens in
response to its antagonist’s
contraction
 D-T reflex inhibits the
agonist
 D-T reflex excites the
antagonist
• helps to regulate a smooth start and
stop for a contraction
• input from the Golgi tendon organs
are sent to the cerebellum and the
cortex
• polysynaptic, ipsilateral, and
segmental
Flexor Reflex
• a pull on the limb,
extending it, will trigger
the reflex

• also a painful stimulus – a


burn, pin prick, toe stub,
etc.

• F-R causes an
automatic withdrawal
from the (dangerous)
stimulus

• polysynaptic, ipsilateral,
and segmental
Crossed Extensor Reflex
• flexion of a body part is often balanced by extension of the
same body part on the opposite side of the body

• polysynaptic

• contralateral

• segmental
Reflexes to Observe in Lab
• Patellar or Knee Jerk Reflex
• Ankle Jerk Reflex
• Plantar (Babinski) Reflex – sole of the foot
• Abdominal Reflex – if dressed appropriately
• Pupillary Reflex
• Ciliospinal Reflex

Biopac Lesson 11: Reaction Time and


Learning (change font size to 9)
segment 1 segment 2 segment 3 segment 4

 Reformat
Follow the onscreen instructions to collect five segments of data. Reformat the
lesson-file name-day/date-time lines into a single line. Print your data journal
with font size set to 8). You do not have to print the graph. Use the first four
data segments to answer the questions from your lab guide on p. 267.
Lab 9 Written Homework
to Turn in Next Week

• Answer the questions and fill out the Table on


p. 266.
• Answer the questions on p. 267
• Attach your Biopac Data Journal
• Put your name, your instructor’s name, day and
time of your lab on all three pages
End Lab 9 Presentation