Column of Clarke

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Column of Clarke
Diagram showing a few of the connections of afferent (sensory) fibers of the posterior root with the efferent fibers from the ventral column and with the various long ascending fasciculi. (Dorsal nucleus labeled at center right.)
Transverse sections of the medulla spinalis at different levels to show the arrangement of the principal cell columns. (Dorsal nucleus labeled at left of second diagram.)
Latin nucleus thoracicus posterior, nucleus dorsalis
Gray's subject #185 758
Dorlands/Elsevier n_11/12583750


The dorsal nucleus (column of Clarke, Clarke's columns, posterior thoracic nucleus) occupies the medial part of the base of the posterior column, and appears on the transverse section as a well-defined oval area.

It begins below at the level of the second or third lumbar nerve, and reaches its maximum size opposite the twelfth thoracic nerve.

Above the level of the ninth thoracic nerve its size diminishes, and the column ends opposite the last cervical or first thoracic nerve.

It is represented, however, in the other regions by scattered cells, which become aggregated to form a cervical nucleus opposite the third cervical nerve, and a sacral nucleus in the middle and lower part of the sacral region.

Its cells are of medium size, and of an oval or pyriform shape; their axons pass into the peripheral part of the lateral funiculus of the same side, and there ascend, probably in dorsal spinocerebellar (direct cerebellar) fasciculus.

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This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained herein may be outdated. Please edit the article if this is the case, and feel free to remove this notice when it is no longer relevant.