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Contents:
  1. An Introduction to Neuroanatomy
  2. Pitt Bar links
  3. Neuroanatomy for Imagers
  4. Related Articles

Attention is given to the visual afferent system with detailed explanations of photoreceptor function and physiology as well as visual field defects with correlation to the retrochiasmal pathways. The visual efferent system is also described with respect to cranial nerve nuclei, extraocular muscle function, and the vestibulo-ocular system. The sections on the neuroendocrine and limbic systems are particularly well written.

The autonomic nervous system section includes useful charts cataloging neurotransmitters, receptor subtypes, and target organs. The section on higher brain centers includes a brief review of molecular pharmacology of certain drugs and their use in particular disease states. Weaknesses: Matching the text with its accompanying figure often requires searching and can be time-consuming; labeling by number of both text and diagram would have been more straightforward and helpful.

Although the computer graphics are of high quality, additional images depicting histopathology, cadaver dissections, and neuroimaging are not included. The section on embryology is too brief.


  1. Introduction to Neuroanatomy!
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Several clinical correlations are made to disease states, but they are few. Recommended Audience: This color pocket atlas is ideal for those interested in neuroscience who are also looking for a quick reference guide for the central and peripheral nervous systems. It is by no means an exhaustive, highly detailed atlas, although it may be quite helpful for medical students on clinical rotations or residents studying for board examinations in neurology or neurosurgery. Critical Appraisal: This little treasure contains an abundance of information presented in a concise, user-friendly format.

It should be on the shelf or pocket of every undergraduate, medical student, or resident studying neuroanatomy and neurophysiology. You may be trying to access this site from a secured browser on the server. Please enable scripts and reload this page.

An Introduction to Neuroanatomy

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Your Name: optional. Your Email:. Colleague's Email:. Separate multiple e-mails with a ;. Thought you might appreciate this item s I saw at Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology. This article discusses information pertinent to the study of neuroanatomy. The first known written record of a study of the anatomy of the human brain is an ancient Egyptian document, the Edwin Smith Papyrus. Herophilus and Erasistratus of Alexandria were perhaps the most influential Greek neuroscientists with their studies involving dissecting brains. However, Pope Sixtus IV effectively revitalized the study of neuroanatomy by altering the papal policy and allowing human dissection.

This resulted in a boom of research in neuroanatomy by artists and scientists of the Renaissance. In , Thomas Willis , a physician and professor at Oxford University, coined the term neurology when he published his text Cerebri anatome which is considered the foundation of neuroanatomy. At the tissue level, the nervous system is composed of neurons , glial cells , and extracellular matrix. Both neurons and glial cells come in many types see, for example, the nervous system section of the list of distinct cell types in the adult human body. Neurons are the information-processing cells of the nervous system: they sense our environment, communicate with each other via electrical signals and chemicals called neurotransmitters which generally act across synapses close contacts between two neurons, or between a neuron and a muscle cell; note also extrasynaptic effects are possible, as well as release of neurotransmitters into the neural extracellular space , and produce our memories, thoughts and movements.

Glial cells maintain homeostasis, produce myelin oligodendrocytes , and provide support and protection for the brain's neurons. Some glial cells astrocytes can even propagate intercellular calcium waves over long distances in response to stimulation, and release gliotransmitters in response to changes in calcium concentration. Wound scars in the brain largely contain astrocytes. The extracellular matrix also provides support on the molecular level for the brain's cells, vehiculating substances to and from the blood vessels.

At the organ level, the nervous system is composed of brain regions, such as the hippocampus in mammals or the mushroom bodies of the fruit fly. For example, the hippocampus is critical for forming memories in connection with many other cerebral regions. The peripheral nervous system also contains afferent or efferent nerves , which are bundles of fibers that originate from the brain and spinal cord, or from sensory or motor sorts of peripheral ganglia, and branch repeatedly to innervate every part of the body. Nerves are made primarily of the axons or dendrites of neurons axons in case of efferent motor fibres, and dendrites in case of afferent sensory fibres of the nerves , along with a variety of membranes that wrap around and segregate them into nerve fascicles.

The vertebrate nervous system is divided into the central and peripheral nervous systems. The central nervous system CNS consists of the brain , retina , and spinal cord , while the peripheral nervous system PNS is made up of all the nerves and ganglia packets of peripheral neurons outside of the CNS that connect it to the rest of the body. The PNS is further subdivided into the somatic and autonomic nervous systems. The somatic nervous system is made up of "afferent" neurons, which bring sensory information from the somatic body sense organs to the CNS, and "efferent" neurons, which carry motor instructions out to the voluntary muscles of the body.

The autonomic nervous system can work with or without the control of the CNS that's why it's called 'autonomous' , and also has two subdivisions, called sympathetic and parasympathetic , which are important for transmitting motor orders to the body's basic internal organs, thus controlling functions such as heartbeat, breathing, digestion, and salivation. Autonomic nerves, unlike somatic nerves, contain only efferent fibers. Sensory signals coming from the viscera course into the CNS through the somatic sensory nerves e.

Pitt Bar links

In anatomy in general and neuroanatomy in particular, several sets of topographic terms are used to denote orientation and location, which are generally referred to the body or brain axis see Anatomical terms of location. The axis of the CNS is often wrongly assumed to be more or less straight, but it actually shows always two ventral flexures cervical and cephalic flexures and a dorsal flexure pontine flexure , all due to differential growth during embryogenesis.

The pairs of terms used most commonly in neuroanatomy are:. Commonly used terms for planes of orientation or planes of section in neuroanatomy are "sagittal", "transverse" or "coronal", and "axial" or "horizontal". Again in this case, the situation is different for swimming, creeping or quadrupedal prone animals than for Man, or other erect species, due to the changed position of the axis. Due to the axial brain flexures, no section plane ever achieves a complete section series in a selected plane, because some sections inevitably result cut oblique or even perpendicular to it, as they pass through the flexures.

Experience allows to discern the portions that result cut as desired. According to these considerations, the three directions of space are represented precisely by the sagittal, transverse and horizontal planes, whereas coronal sections can be transverse, oblique or horizontal, depending on how they relate to the brain axis and its incurvations. Modern developments in neuroanatomy are directly correlated to the technologies used to perform research.

Therefore, it is necessary to discuss the various tools that are available. Many of the histological techniques used to study other tissues can be applied to the nervous system as well. However, there are some techniques that have been developed especially for the study of neuroanatomy.

Introduction to the Central Nervous System - UBC Neuroanatomy Season 1 - Ep 1

In biological systems, staining is a technique used to enhance the contrast of particular features in microscopic images. Nissl staining uses aniline basic dyes to intensely stain the acidic polyribosomes in the rough endoplasmic reticulum , which is abundant in neurons. This allows researchers to distinguish between different cell types such as neurons and glia , and neuronal shapes and sizes, in various regions of the nervous system cytoarchitecture.

The classic Golgi stain uses potassium dichromate and silver nitrate to fill selectively with a silver chromate precipitate a few neural cells neurons or glia, but in principle any cells can react similarly. This so-called silver chromate impregnation procedure stains entirely or partially the cell bodies and neurites of some neurons - dendrites , axon - in brown and black, allowing researchers to trace their paths up to their thinnest terminal branches in a slice of nervous tissue, thanks to the transparency consequent to the lack of staining in the majority of surrounding cells.

Modernly, Golgi-impregnated material has been adapted for electron-microscopic visualization of the unstained elements surrounding the stained processes and cell bodies, thus adding further resolutive power. Histochemistry uses knowledge about biochemical reaction properties of the chemical constituents of the brain including notably enzymes to apply selective methods of reaction to visualize where they occur in the brain and any functional or pathological changes. This applies importantly to molecules related to neurotransmitter production and metabolism, but applies likewise in many other directions chemoarchitecture, or chemical neuroanatomy.

Immunocytochemistry is a special case of histochemistry that uses selective antibodies against a variety of chemical epitopes of the nervous system to selectively stain particular cell types, axonal fascicles, neuropiles, glial processes or blood vessels, or specific intracytoplasmic or intranuclear proteins and other immunogenetic molecules, e. Immunoreacted transcription factor proteins reveal genomic readout in terms of translated protein. This immensely increases the capacity of researchers to distinguish between different cell types such as neurons and glia in various regions of the nervous system.

In situ hybridization uses synthetic RNA probes that attach hybridize selectively to complementary mRNA transcripts of DNA exons in the cytoplasm, to visualize genomic readout, that is, distinguish active gene expression, in terms of mRNA rather than protein. This allows identification histologically in situ of the cells involved in the production of genetically-coded molecules, which often represent differentiation or functional traits, as well as the molecular boundaries separating distinct brain domains or cell populations.

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Neuroanatomy for Imagers

By expressing variable amounts of red, green, and blue fluorescent proteins in the brain, the so-called " brainbow " mutant mouse allows the combinatorial visualization of many different colors in neurons. This tags neurons with enough unique colors that they can often be distinguished from their neighbors with fluorescence microscopy , enabling researchers to map the local connections or mutual arrangement tiling between neurons. Optogenetics uses transgenic constitutive and site-specific expression normally in mice of blocked markers that can be activated selectively by illumination with a light beam.

This allows researchers to study axonal connectivity in the nervous system in a very discriminative way. Magnetic resonance imaging has been used extensively to investigate brain structure and function non-invasively in healthy human subjects. An important example is diffusion tensor imaging , which relies on the restricted diffusion of water in tissue in order to produce axon images.

In particular, water moves more quickly along the direction aligned with the axons, permitting the inference of their structure. Certain viruses can replicate in brain cells and cross synapses. So, viruses modified to express markers such as fluorescent proteins can be used to trace connectivity between brain regions across multiple synapses.

Axonal transport methods use a variety of dyes horseradish peroxidase variants, fluorescent or radioactive markers, lectins, dextrans that are more or less avidly absorbed by neurons or their processes. These molecules are selectively transported anterogradely from soma to axon terminals or retrogradely from axon terminals to soma , thus providing evidence of primary and collateral connections in the brain. These 'physiologic' methods because properties of living, unlesioned cells are used can be combined with other procedures, and have essentially superseded the earlier procedures studying degeneration of lesioned neurons or axons.

Detailed synaptic connections can be determined by correlative electron microscopy. Serial section electron microscopy has been extensively developed for use in studying nervous systems.

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For example, the first application of serial block-face scanning electron microscopy was on rodent cortical tissue. Is a field that utilizes various imaging modalities and computational techniques to model and quantify the spatiotemporal dynamics of neuroanatomical structures in both normal and clinical populations. Aside from the human brain , there are many other animals whose brains and nervous systems have received extensive study as model systems , including mice, zebrafish , [14] fruit fly , [15] and a species of roundworm called C.