Spinothalamic tract

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Definition

noun

A large ascending bundle of fibers that serves as a sensory pathway from the skin to the thalamus


Supplement

The spinothalamic tract is a bundle of fibers that is located near the lateral funiculus of the spinal cord. It arises in the posterior horn of the spinal cord and continues into the brainstem. Its function is to act as a sensory pathway from the skin to the thalamus. Sensory information comes from the ventral posterolateral nucleus in the thalamus. Then, the information is relayed to the somatosensory cortex of the postcentral gyrus.

The spinothalamic tract is comprised of two main parts: the anterior spinothalamic tract and the lateral spinothalamic tract. The anterior spinothalamic tract, also known as ventral spinothalamic tract, is the part that transmits crude touch and firm pressure. It relays this information to the reticular formation in the thalamus. It is located in the marginal part of the anterior funiculus. It is derived from cells in the posterior column of white matter in the spinal cord or the intermediate gray matter of the opposite side.2 The lateral spinothalamic tract is the part that transmits pain and temperature information to the brain.


Also called:

  • tractus spinothalamicus

Reference(s):
1 Spinothalamic tract. Wikipedia.org. Retrieved from [1]
2 Anterior spinothalamic tract. Retrieved from [2]