Propriospinal fibers in the rat

Kyungsoon Chung, Richard E. Coggeshall

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56 Scopus citations


Segments of rat spinal cord were isolated by transecting in two places and sectioning all dorsal roots between the transections. Following this procedure, the areas of the gray and white matter are decreased by approximately 50% compared to normal. We feel, for reasons elaborated in the discussion, that the white matter of the isolated segments contains almost exclusively propriospinal axons. If this is accepted, then the axonal counts in this paper provide estimates of the numbers of propriospinal axons in rat spinal cord. In the isolated segments, the lateral funiculi contain 21,000 myelinated and 31,000 unmyelinated axons and the ventral funiculi 10,500 myelinated and 1,500 unmyelinated axons. The number of these fibers is approximately 33% of the number in unoperated spinal cords. Thus approximately one‐third of the axons in rat sacral lateral and ventral funiculi are propriospinal, a lower figure than would have been predicted from classical work. The ratio of myelinated to unmyelinated fibers is higher for proprio‐spinal fibers than for the other axons in these funiculi. Thus the propriospi‐nal axons, as a group, are slightly larger than the other axons in these funic‐uli. This is against currently accepted thinking which generally regards the propriospinal fibers as the finest in the white matter of the cord. Finally, the quantification of propriospinal systems in these funiculi allows more precision in our thinking about the organization of the spinal cord.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-53
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 10 1983


  • isolated spinal cord
  • propriospinal fibers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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