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The Spinal Cord - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780123742476, 9780080921389

The Spinal Cord

1st Edition

A Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation Text and Atlas

Editors: Charles Watson George Paxinos Gulgun Kayalioglu
eBook ISBN: 9780080921389
Hardcover ISBN: 9780123742476
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 12th November 2008
Page Count: 408
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Many hundreds of thousands suffer spinal cord injuries leading to loss of sensation and motor function in the body below the point of injury. Spinal cord research has made some significant strides towards new treatment methods, and is a focus of many laboratories worldwide. In addition, research on the involvement of the spinal cord in pain and the abilities of nervous tissue in the spine to regenerate has increasingly been on the forefront of biomedical research in the past years. The Spinal Cord, a collaboration with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, is the first comprehensive book on the anatomy of the mammalian spinal cord. Tens of thousands of articles and dozens of books are published on this subject each year, and a great deal of experimental work has been carried out on the rat spinal cord. Despite this, there is no comprehensive and authoritative atlas of the mammalian spinal cord. Almost all of the fine details of spinal cord anatomy must be searched for in journal articles on particular subjects. This book addresses this need by providing both a comprehensive reference on the mammalian spinal cord and a comparative atlas of both rat and mouse spinal cords in one convenient source. The book provides a descriptive survey of the details of mammalian spinal cord anatomy, focusing on the rat with many illustrations from the leading experts in the field and atlases of the rat and the mouse spinal cord. The rat and mouse spinal cord atlas chapters include photographs of Nissl stained transverse sections from each of the spinal cord segments (obtained from a single unfixed spinal cord), detailed diagrams of each of the spinal cord segments pictured, delineating the laminae of Rexed and all other significant neuronal groupings at each level and photographs of additional sections displaying markers such as acetylcholinesterase (AChE), calbindin, calretinin, choline acetlytransferase, neurofilament protein (SMI 32), enkephalin, calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), and neuronal nuclear protein (NeuN).

Key Features

  • The text provides a detailed account of the anatomy of the mammalian spinal cord and surrounding musculoskeletal elements
  • The major topics addressed are: development of the spinal cord; the gross anatomy of the spinal cord and its meninges; spinal nerves, nerve roots, and dorsal root ganglia; the vertebral column, vertebral joints, and vertebral muscles; blood supply of the spinal cord; cytoarchitecture and chemoarchitecture of the spinal gray matter; musculotopic anatomy of motoneuron groups; tracts connecting the brain and spinal cord; spinospinal pathways; sympathetic and parasympathetic elements in the spinal cord; neuronal groups and pathways that control micturition; the anatomy of spinal cord injury in experimental animals;
  • The atlas of the rat and mouse spinal cord has the following features: Photographs of Nissl stained transverse sections from each of 34 spinal segments for the rat and mouse; Detailed diagrams of each of the 34 spinal segments for rat and mouse, delineating the laminae of Rexed and all other significant neuronal groupings at each level. ; Alongside each of the 34 Nissl stained segments, there are additional sections displaying markers such as acetylcholinesterase, calbindin, calretinin, choline acetlytransferase, neurofilament protein (SMI 32), and neuronal nuclear protein (NeuN)
  • All the major motoneuron clusters are identified in relation to the individual muscles or muscle groups they supply.


Spinal cord researchers including anatomists, physiologists, neuropharmacologists, and clinicians

Table of Contents

Chapter 1
The organization of the spinal cord
Charles Watson and Gulgun Kayalioglu

The gross anatomy of the spinal cord
Spinal cord segments
Spinal nerves
Spinal cord gray and white matter.
Lateral cervical nucleus
Lateral spinal nucleus
Onuf’s nucleus
Central canal
Spinal cord meninges
Vasculature of the spinal cord

Chapter 2
Development of the spinal cord
Ken WS Ashwell

From neural plate to neural tube
Neural crest development
Alar and basal plates and their derivatives
Segmentation of the developing spinal cord
Motoneuron development and cell death
Development of spinal cord afferents and dorsal horn interneurons
Development of glia in the spinal cord
Development of major ascending and descending tracts
Myelination of spinal cord pathways
Relative growth of the spinal cord and vertebral column

Chapter 3
The vertebral column and the spinal meninges
Gulgun Kayalioglu

The vertebral column
General features of the vertebrae in mammals
Interspecific variation in vertebral number
The rodent vertebral column
Cervical vertebrae in humans
Thoracic vertebrae in humans
Lumbar vertebrae in humans.
The sacrum in humans
The coccyx in humans
Curvatures of the spine
Joints of the vertebrae
Joints between vertebral bodies
Joints between vertebral arches
The craniovertebral joints
Lumbosacral joints
Sacrococcygeal joint
Intercoccygeal joints
Sacro-iliac joints
The intrinsic muscles of the vertebral column
The spinal meninges
Intermediate leptomeningeal layer

Chapter 4
The spinal nerves
Gulgun Kayalioglu

The anatomy of the dorsal and ventral roots and spinal nerves
Dorsal root (spinal) ganglia
Spinal nerves

Chapter 5
The spinal cord blood vessels
Oscar U Scremin

Blood flow and spinal cord function
Capillary networks
Spinal cord blood flow imaging
Arterial anatomy
Venous anatomy
Spinal cord lymphatic drainage
Experimental spinal cord ischemia
Blood flow in spinal cord trauma

Chapter 6
Cytoarchitecture of the spinal cord
Claire Heise and Gulgun Kayalioglu

The laminae of Rexed
Lamina 1
Lamina 2
Lamina 3
Lamina 4
The dorsal nucleus
Lamina 5
Lamina 6
Lamina 7
Lamina 8
Lamina 9
Lamina 10

Chapter 7
Localization of motoneurons in the spinal cord
Steve McHanwell and Charles Watson

Introduction – motoneuron types
Cellular organization of neurons within the ventral and intermediate horns
Experimental approaches to motoneuron localization
Topography of motoneuron pools in the upper cervical spinal cord
Topography of forelimb motoneuron pools in the cervical enlargement
Topography of motoneuron pools in the thoracic and upper lumbar spinal cord
Topography of hindlimb motoneuron pools in the lumbosacral spinal cord
Muscles of the perineum
Deep muscles of the back and tail

Chapter 8
Spinal autonomic preganglionic neurons: the visceral efferent system of the spinal cord
Colin R Anderson, Janet R Keast, and Elspeth M McLachlan

Visceral efferent pathways
Spatial distribution of preganglionic neurons
Morphology of preganglionic neurons and arrangement of their dendrites
Sympathetic preganglionic neurons
Parasympathetic preganglionic neurons
Chemistry of preganglionic neurons
Chemistry of synaptic inputs to preganglionic neurons
Regulation of pelvic organ function

Chapter 9
Central nervous system control of micturition
Gert Holstege and Han Collewijn

Afferent fibers from bladder to sacral spinal cord
Sensory endings in the bladder wall
Sensory endings in the urethra
Sacral cord
Bladder C-fibers
Bladder A-delta fibers
Ascending projections
Motor innervation of bladder and bladder sphincter
Somatomotor innervation of the external bladder sphincter
Sacral micturition reflexes
Periaqueductal gray
Pontine micturition center (PMC)
Continence center or L-region
Other brainstem-spinal pathways possibly involved in bladder
and sphincter motoneuronal control
Forebrain micturition control

Chapter 10
Projections from the spinal cord to the brain
Gulgun Kayalioglu

Ascending spinal projections in the ventrolateral funiculus
Other ascending projections in the ventrolateral funiculus
Projections from the spinal cord to the cerebellum
The dorsal spinocerebellar tract
Dorsal column ascending pathways

Chapter 11
Projections from the brain to the spinal cord
Charles Watson and Alan R Harvey

The corticospinal tract
Hypothalamic and diencephalic projections to the spinal cord
The rubrospinal tract
The tectospinal tract
Cerebellospinal projections
The reticulospinal tracts
Descending trigeminal and dorsal column nuclei projections
The vestibulospinal tracts
Raphespinal and coeruleospinal tracts
The solitariospinal tract
Projection from the retroambiguus nucleus to the spinal cord

Chapter 12
The propriospinal system
Amanda C Conta and Dennis J Stelzner

The propriospinal system: definition and overall function
Subgroups of propriospinal networks
Propriospinal networks and neurotransmitters
Locomotor propriospinal system across species
Propriospinal projections and experimental spinal cord injury

Chapter 13
Spinal cord transmitter substances
Claire Heise and Gulgun Kayalioglu

Cholinergic neurons
Substance P
Noradrenergic projections to the spinal cord
Serotoninergic projections from the raphe
Dopaminergic projections to the spinal cord

Chapter 14
Spinal cord injury: experimental animal models and relation to human therapy.
Stuart I Hodgetts, Giles W Plant, and Alan R Harvey

General pathophysiology of SCI
Types of spinal cord injury
Immune and inflammatory responses following SCI
Methods to induce spinal cord injury
Assessing functional recovery in animal models of SCI
Assessing human functional recovery
Differences between animal models and humans and functional recovery after SCI
Strategies to treat SCI
Clinical trials

Chapter 15
Atlas of the rat spinal cord
Charles Watson, George Paxinos. Gulgun Kayalioglu, and Claire Heise

Cresyl violet staining and AChE histochemistry
Immunohistochemical processing
Photography and diagrams
Nomenclature and abbreviations
Basis of delineation of structures
Naming of spinal cord segments
Identification of regions and segments of the spinal cord in the rat and mouse
List of structures
Rat spinal cord figures and plates

Chapter 16
Atlas of the mouse spinal cord
Charles Watson, George Paxinos. Gulgun Kayalioglu, and Claire Heise

Mouse spinal cord sections provided by the Allen Institute for Brain Science
Photography and diagrams
Basis of delineation of structures
List of structures
Mouse spinal cord figures and plates

Chapter 17
Toward a spinal cord ontology
Charles Watson and Amandeep Sidhu

What is an ontology?
Regional subdivisions in the spinal cord
A new regional classification based on development
An ontological outline of spinal cord nomenclature
Six levels in the spinal cord ontology
Subdividing the limb enlargements into rostral and caudal groups
Detailed similarities between the arrangement of motoneuron groups in the brachial and lumbar enlargements
Similarities between the segments that immediately precede the upper and lower limb enlargements
Does this spinal cord ontology have any practical application?


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2008
12th November 2008
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:
Hardcover ISBN:

About the Editors

Charles Watson

Charles Watson is a neuroscientist and public health physician. His qualifications included a medical degree (MBBS) and two research doctorates (MD and DSc). He is Professor Emeritus at Curtin University, and holds adjunct professorial research positions at the University of New South Wales, the University of Queensland, and the University of Western Australia. He has published over 100 refereed journal articles and 40 book chapters, and has co-authored over 25 books on brain and spinal cord anatomy. The Paxinos Watson rat brain atlas has been cited over 80,000 times. His current research is focused on the comparative anatomy of the hippocampus and the claustrum. He was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science by the University of Sydney in 2012 and received the Distinguished Achievement Award of the Australasian Society for Neuroscience in 2018.

Affiliations and Expertise

John Curtin Distinguished Professor of Health Science, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia and Neuroscience Research Australia, NSW Sydney, Australia

George Paxinos

George Paxinos

Professor George Paxinos, AO (BA, MA, PhD, DSc) completed his BA at The University of California at Berkeley, his PhD at McGill University, and spent a postdoctoral year at Yale University. He is the author of almost 50 books on the structure of the brain of humans and experimental animals, including The Rat Brain in Stereotaxic Coordinates, now in its 7th Edition, which is ranked by Thomson ISI as one of the 50 most cited items in the Web of Science. Dr. Paxinos paved the way for future neuroscience research by being the first to produce a three-dimensional (stereotaxic) framework for placement of electrodes and injections in the brain of experimental animals, which is now used as an international standard. He was a member of the first International Consortium for Brain Mapping, a UCLA based consortium that received the top ranking and was funded by the NIMH led Human Brain Project. Dr. Paxinos has been honored with more than nine distinguished awards throughout his years of research, including: The Warner Brown Memorial Prize (University of California at Berkeley, 1968), The Walter Burfitt Prize (1992), The Award for Excellence in Publishing in Medical Science (Assoc Amer Publishers, 1999), The Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research (2001), The Alexander von Humbolt Foundation Prize (Germany 2004), and more.

Affiliations and Expertise

Neuroscience Research Australia and The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Gulgun Kayalioglu

Affiliations and Expertise

Ege University, Izmir, Turkey


"This atlas provides an excellent, detailed map of the entire spinal cord of both rat and mouse. The photomicrographs are outstanding, the labelling is clear and the illustrations should serve as outstanding examples of what high quality staining and immunocytochemistry should look like. This information has not been available in any atlas of the CNS before, and will be an extremely useful resource for all neuroscientist interested in this part of the nervous system and a 'must-have' for spinal cord labs." --Jacqueline C. Bresnahan, Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery, Brain and Spinal Injury Center, University of California at San Francisco, USA

"The Spinal Cord is an authoritative and detailed account of the development, organization and function of the spinal cord. Written by a series of experts, the book contains enlightening chapters that cover the anatomy and the architecture of the spinal cord in a clear and logical fashion. Attention to special topics, such as spinal cord injury and micturition, is unprecedented and unusually informative. The comprehensive atlas, along with the diagrams and list of references, will be of considerable use to the students of the nervous system, as well as the most senior of investigators. It is an excellent volume!" --Moses V. Chao, Professor of Cell Biology, Physiology and Neuroscience and Psychiatry, Molecular Neurobiology Program, Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, NYU School of Medicine, New York, USA

Ratings and Reviews