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Central Canal of Spinal Cord (Sacral)
Nervous System

Central Canal of Spinal Cord (Sacral)

Canalis centralis medullae spinalis

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The central canal is the portion of the ventricular system of the central nervous system that is specific to the spinal cord. It originates when the embryonic neural tube folds together forming a lumen. It carries cerebrospinal fluid in early years but is often partially or wholly obliterated in adults.

The central canal is generally oval in shape with the longer axis running dorsoventral. It is lined with a single layer of ependymal cells and either filled with cerebrospinal fluid or is no longer patent. Just before its terminus within the conus medullaris, the central canal will expand to form a larger cavity.

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Related parts of the anatomy

Key Features/Anatomical Relations

The central canal is continuous with the fourth ventricle, originating at the obex rostrally and ending in the conus medullaris caudally. Within the spinal cord, it is found centrally within the grey commissure that connects the left and right sides. It is surrounded by grey matter that is classified as Rexed lamina X. The terminal expansion of the central canal is called the ventriculus terminalis of Krause (Saker et al., 2016).

List of Clinical Correlates

- Syringomyelia


Saker, E., Henry, B. M., Tomaszewski, K. A., Loukas, M., Iwanaga, J., Oskouian, R. J. and Tubbs, R. S. (2016) 'The Human Central Canal of the Spinal Cord: A Comprehensive Review of its Anatomy, Embryology, Molecular Development, Variants, and Pathology', Cureus, 8(12), pp. e927.

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Sacral Spinal Cord

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Onuf nucleus refers to a group of MNs in the most ventral aspect of the sacral spinal cord (S2-4) that innervate muscles of the pelvic floor, including the striated muscles of the sphincters, through the pudendal nerves.

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