Update on the functional anatomy of the corticospinal tract in humans

  • María José Marín-Castro
  • Valeria Guerra-Espinosa
  • Juan Pedro Neira-Gómez
  • Julián Carvajal-Fernández
  • Juan Camilo Suárez-Escudero
Keywords: anatomy, efferent pathways, motor cortex, motor neurons, neuroanatomy, pyramidal tracts


Introduction: the pyramidal Tract or Corticospinal Tract (CST) is a challenging topic to teach as to learn, both for students and for health professionals. Knowing their origin and conformation allows us to understand their role not only in the clinical manifestations of the different neurological syndromes, but also its role in the sensory-motor rehabilitation processes. Objective: to develop a narrative review of the functional anatomy of the motor pathway in humans. Development: since the first neurophysiological descriptions in the nineteenth century, the comprehension of the CST has evolved considerably. It is currently known to be the main efferent system responsible for the execution of voluntary movements that require precision, adjustment and skill, mainly in the distal regions of the upper limbs. It originates in the cerebral cortex, from where motor neurons project to synapse with the motor nuclei of the cranial nerves in the stem and with the lower motor neurons in the anterior horn of the spinal cord. Its lesions originate the upper motor neuron syndrome, whose clinical presentation depends on the anatomical point where the damage occurs. Conclusion: the actual technology have allowed us to broaden our knowledge of the CST, which has lead us to know more specifically its conformation and functioning, and its clinical importance both in the upper motor neuron syndrome and in neurorehabilitation.
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