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Posterior funiculus

German: Hinterstrang

1 Definition

The posterior funiculus is a part of the spinal cord's white matter which is situated between its posterior and posterior median sulci.

2 Neural pathways

The posterior funiculus contains the ascending spinobulbar tract which is made up of the cuneate and gracile fasciculi.

The cuneate and gracile fasciculi contain nerve fibers pertaining to epicritic sensibility, which means that they carry information about location and quality of touch as well as information generated by receptors in muscles, tendons and joints.

3 Pathway

3.1 Beginning

The gracile fasciculus carries nerve fibers of the sacral and lumbar segments and runs medially. Fibers of the cuneate fasciculus from thoracic and cervical segments laterally lie against the gracile fasciculus. Fibers form a somatotopic arrangement. The first neurons of both fiber bundles lie in the dorsal root ganglion.

3.2 Second neuron

Before crossing to the opposite side, the first neurons of the cuneate and gracile fasciculi synapse with the second neurons in the cuneate and gracile nuclei of the medulla oblongata, respectively. From here on they run through the brain stem, now called the medial lemniscus. Epicritic fibers of the trigeminal nerve which synapse with the second neuron in the principal sensory nucleus of the trigeminal nerve join them in the pons. The nerve fibers collectively run to the ventral posterior nucleus of the thalamus.

3.3 Third neuron

The second and third neuron synapse in the thalamus before running thought the internal capsule to the primary somato-sensory cortex in the postcentral gyrus of the cerebrum.

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