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The term anterior horn (also frontal horn, anterior cornu, frontal cornu) may refer to either of two separate anatomical structures within the central nervous system:
- anterior horn of lateral ventricle in the brain, which passes forward, laterally, and slightly downward from the interventricular foramen into the frontal lobe
- anterior horn of spinal cord, the ventral (front) grey matter section of the spinal cord which contains motor neurons that affect the axial muscles
The ventral horn of the spinal cord is the target for some spasmolytic medications. Norepinephrine release in the ventral horn (as induced by cyclobenzaprine) reduces spasms by innervation (reducing nerve activity) of alpha motor neurons via interaction with gamma fibers.
It is these cells that are affected in the so-called "anterior horn diseases", namely amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease, progressive muscular atrophy, all spinal muscular atrophies, poliomyelitis, and West Nile virus.
The anterior column (anterior cornu, anterior horn), directed forward, is broad and of a rounded or quadrangular shape. Its posterior part is termed the base, and its anterior part the head, but these are not differentiated from each other by any well-defined constriction. It is separated from the surface of the medulla spinalis by a layer of white substance which is traversed by the bundles of the anterior nerve roots. In the thoracic region, the postero-lateral part of the anterior column projects laterally as a triangular field, which is named the lateral column (columna lateralis; lateral cornu).
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This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained herein may be outdated. Please edit the article if this is the case, and feel free to remove this notice when it is no longer relevant.
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