Anterior horn (spinal cord)

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Anterior horn (spinal cord)
Medulla spinalis - Section - Indonesian.svg
Latin cornu anterius medullae spinalis
Gray's subject #185 753
Dorlands/Elsevier c_55/12259735

The anterior horn of the spinal cord (or anterior cornu, or anterior column, or ventral horn) is the ventral (front) grey matter section of the spinal cord.

The anterior horn contains motoneurons that affect the axial muscles while the posterior horn receives information regarding touch and sensation.

The anterior horn is where the cell bodies of alpha motorneurons are located.


It is these cells that are affected in the so-called "Anterior Horn Diseases", namely Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Spinal muscular atrophy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and Progressive muscular atrophy. These motorneurons are also affected in Spinal and Bulbar Muscular Atrophy (Kennedy disease).

Anatomical details

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 lateralward as a triangular field, which is named the lateral column (columna lateralis; lateral cornu).

Additional images

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 As such, some of the information contained herein may be outdated.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.