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Location of the phrenic nucleus in the human spinal cord

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PMC
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Abstract

Eight normal human spinal cords were studied. Spinal segments were identified and embedded in paraffin wax. Serial cross sections were cut at 25 μm and stained by cresyl violet. Motor columns were reconstructed adapting Elliott's (1942) methods. Motor columns were classified into the medial and lateral divisions and were numbered sequentially from medial to lateral at the level of Cl. In the cervical cord, 8 motor columns were traced. Column 1, corresponding to the medial column, presented 3 subdivisions designated as 1a, 1b and 1c with ventral, dorsal and lateral positions respectively. Columns 1a and 1b extended throughout the cervical region while 1c was confined to 3rd, 4th and 5th cervical segments. At the level of C3, 1c was a discrete column situated lateral to 1a and 1b but at C4 and C5 it became displaced medially close to the medial margin of the ventral horn. In cross section, it presented smaller medial and large lateral part. With the help of clinical and developmental evidence an attempt was made to correlate column 1c with the phrenic nucleus.

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