Spinal Cord

This is an 24×36″ acrylic painting of the spinal cord from the area that controls the legs and lower half of body.

The spinal cord is divided into the dorsal horn-upper part, and the ventral horn-lower half. The dorsal horn receives input from sensory fibers in green. It sends input through interneurons, in pink, to the spinothalamic tract cells, in blue. These cells are important for transmitting pain and temperature signals to the brain for perception of pain.

The purple cells in the ventral horn are motor neurons. Their axons send signals out to muscles through the ventral root, purple fibers/lines. These are important in control of movement. Lou Gehrig’s disease, known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a condition where the motor neurons die leaving significant weakness.

Below is the full painting with 4 sections of the spinal cord and several close ups showing the intricate details of the neuron structure. Neurons in the spinal cord have a lot of branches giving them significant coverage of area. This means they can receive a lot of information from a wide range of sensory fibers and other neurons. This makes them quite moldable, and responsive to changes throughout the body.

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