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Flashcards in Functional Organisation of the CNS Deck (28):

What makes up the CNS and PNS?

CNS - Brain & Spinal Cord
PNS - Nerves and Ganglia


What is the basic structure of the brain?

Basic Brain Structure:
--> Cerebrum (surface of the top of the brain), cerebellum, brain stem (midbrain, pons, medulla), spinal cord, hypothalamus, thalamus, basal ganglia, limbic system
--> When the brain is cut into, there is obviously two types of matter: Grey and White
--> Modern imaging techniques are able to visualise grey and white matter


What is the difference between white matter and grey matter?

Grey Matter: neuron somata and glia; where the neurons are with dentrites and synapses
White Matter: myelinated axons and glia; connections between different parts of the brain


What are white matter tracts and how are they visible?

--> Modern imaging (MRI etc) can be adjusted so as to only see the fibres of axon tracts in the white matter showing the relationship of the these tracts to different areas of the brain = diffusion weighted MRI


Describe the Anatomical Directions in NS of primates?

--> Brain has a major kink between the midbrain and diencephalon
--> The brainstem runs vertically along body axis and this means that due to development of human brain 'dorsal' is both at the back of the neck and the top of the head


Give some features of the cerebrum?

• Two cerebral hemispheres; Split by longitudinal fissure
--> These two hemispheres are joined deep in the fissue by the corpus collosum
• Brain is narrower at the front (rostral) and wider at the back (ventral)
• Ridges - gyri/gyrus
• Grooves - sulci/sulcus
• Surface is cortex
• Site of language, memory, emotions, self awareness
• Organised into four lobes basically but this has limited functional significance because of the mapping of the regions and the functional regions of the cerebral cortex not correlating (occipital, parietal, frontal, temporal)
• You can further divide it by giving names to gyri and sulci however this too has limited functionality


How is the cerebrum generally divided?

• Organised into four lobes basically but this has limited functional significance because of the mapping of the regions and the functional regions of the cerebral cortex not correlating (occipital, parietal, frontal, temporal)
• You can further divide it by giving names to gyri and sulci however this too has limited functionality
• Instead, the Brodmann Map is used to divide the brain and is the result of micrscopic analysis of the whole brain looking for differences in function and organisation; it is still referred to today
• Today, we look at functionality based on experimental data and functional assessment (strokes etc) however all of these methods have
both benefits and disadvantages
• Functional imaging is also used to look at living brains and look at activity while performing specific tasks


What is the cellular structure of the cortex?

•  Superficial layer of grey matter over a core of white matter
•  Layered structure
•  Pyramidal neurons + interneurons
•  Left and right cortices linked at corpus callosum


Give some features of the cerebellum?

• Contains 70% of the neurons in the brain but a far smaller volume and so it serves an important purpose
• Tucked in behind the occipital lobe
•  Key element in motor control
•  Compares what you want to do with want you are doing
--> Tight feed back between what you want to do and what you are actually doing to ensure that you are graceful
--> otherwise appear clumsy
•  Refines execution of motor program
• May also be used in language and other functions


Give some features of basal ganglia?

Basal Ganglia:
• Group of nuclei
•  In telencephalon; live in the core of the brain
•  Also important in motor control
•  Selects and initiates voluntary movements
•  Forms loops with cortex; critical for the formation of motor programs
•  Damage leads to movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease


Give some features of the thalamus?

•  Part of diencephalon; there are two (one on each side)
• Around the size of quail eggs
•  Major sensory relay to cortex; relays sensory information from periphery and processes it before it goes to the cortex.
• Contains Subnucelei


Thalamic nuclei project in three ways, what are they?

1.  Relays sensory information to specific areas of cortex
2.  Relays of non-sensory information from cortex and basal ganglia to specific areas of cortex
3.  Project globally to cortex; arousal, sleep; thalamus allows you to switch between the two states


Give some features of the hypothalamus?

•  Part of diencephalon; only a few mm in size below the thalamus
•  Regulates homeostasis (temperature, blood volume and pressure, ion concentration, pH, O2 and glucose)
•  Controls pituitary which is on the bottom of the hypothalamus (master endocrine gland; regulates hormones)


Give some features of the brainstem?

•  Controls:
- Facial muscles
- Sensation from face and head
- Cardiorespiratory control; drives breathing and helps the hypothalamus to regulate BP
- Arousal, sleep/wake cycle; damage to brainstem can cause permanent coma
•  Cranial Nerves run from the brainstem


Give some features of the cranial nerves?

Cranial Nerves:
•  Sensory and motor supply to/from face and deeper structures via ten of the twelve cranial nerves
•  Cranial nerves can be purely motor, purely sensory or mixed


Give some features of the spinal cord?

Spinal Cord
•  Part of CNS
•  Connects to medulla (most distal part of brainstem)
•  Enclosed in vertebrae
• Can be divided into grey and white matter
- Core of grey matter
- Surrounded by white matter (axons that run up and down the spinal cord connecting different parts (local circuits) or all the way into the brain or from the brain into spinal cord (motor elements))
--> Dorsal (posterior) horns, ventral (anterior) horns, intermediate zone
•  Spinal cord is divided in relation to the vertebrae
- Comprises cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral divisions
•  Varies in shape and size over the length of the spinal cord
- Enlarged at lower cervical and lumbar regions (for limbs); more grey matter due to the muscles in the limbs


Give some features of spinal nerves?

Spinal Nerves:
•  Ends around L1/L2; spinal cord is shorter than the vertebral column
•  For each vertebra, there is corresponding spinal segment
•  Each spinal segment gives rise to a pair of spinal nerves; this includes that region beyond L1/L2 and so the bottom part of the vertebral canal is not filled with spinal cord but spinal roots instead


What is the difference between dorsal and ventral roots?

Dorsal And Ventral Roots:
•  Each spinal nerve formed by dorsal and ventral roots
- Dorsal root = sensory axons (not part of the central nervous system and are instead a part of the PNS and lie within the dorsal root ganglia)
- Ventral root = ventral horn motor axons (control skeletal muscle of body) (Efferent Neurons = brain --> periphery)
•  Dorsal and Ventral Roots connect to form the spinal nerves


What are dorsal root ganglia?

Dorsal Root Ganglia:
•  Dorsal root contains neuronal somata forming a ganglion (dorsal root ganglion, DRG)
•  Hidden between vertebrae; between the vertebral joints
•  Sensory neurons; also called primary afferent (periphery --> brain) neurons


Give some features of the dorsal root ganglion?

Dorsal Root Ganglia Neurons/Primary Afferent Neuron/Sensory Neuron:
•  Branching axon; splits immediately after it leaves the cell body; one goes into the body to sense things and one goes into the CNS in the spinal cord)
•  One branch in peripheral nerve – detects stimulus
•  One branch enters dorsal horn via dorsal root
•  Some cranial nerves have cranial nerve ganglia (equivalent in function to DRGs)


Give some features of peripheral nerves?

Peripheral Nerves:
•  Most peripheral nerves are mixed (both sensory and motor axons)
•  Because the dorsal and ventral fibres mix and so damage to a nerve will cause both motor and sensory problems


What are dermatomes?

•  The region of body innervated by a bilateral pair of dorsal root ganglia is a dermatome


What are ventricles in the brain?

•  Hollow centre of brain forms ventricles; due to the development of the brain as an embryo
•  Complex 3-d shape
•  2 x lateral ventricles, 1 x third and 1 x fourth ventricle, cerebral aqueduct
•  Full of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
•  Landmark in MRI and CT; easy to visualise


What is CSF? What is its purpose?

Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF):
•  Vascular choroid plexus forms CSF - ultrafiltrate of plasma ( CSF is has different ion concentration such as low levels of potassium etc)
•  Choroid plexus present in ventricles which produces the CSF to fill the ventricles
•  CSF flows out of ventricles at fourth ventricle
•  Brain floats in CSF, acts as shock absorber


What are the meninges?

•  CNS is protected by bone of skull and vertebrae
•  Second layer of defence are meninges; mechanical protection
•  Three layers of thick connective tissue
1.  Dura (thickest, outermost)
2.  Arachnoid (fibrous, middle)
3.  Pia (thinnest, innermost)


Give some features of the sub-arachnoid space?

Sub-arachnoid Space:
•  CSF fills open subarachnoid space
•  CSF resorbed by major veins at arachnoid granulations


What are the falx and tetorium in the brain?

Falx and Tentorium:
•  Falx divides cerebral hemispheres
•  Tentorium separates cerebellum from occipital lobe
•  The meninges extend as far as possible into the grooves of the brain and forms the falx and tentorium.
•  These take the open space in the skull and divides it so that the brain cannot move; means that if the brain swells it has nowhere to go and thus compresses the brain


What are some features of the BBB?

Blood Brain Barrier:
•  CSF is different to plasma
•  Neurons are sensitive to fluctuations in ion concentration
•  Extracellular fluid in brain is protected by blood brain barrier
•  Formed by endothelial cells of capillaries
•  Lack pinocytotic transfer, have very tight tight junctions
•  Most transport is active