The corticobulbar and corticospinal pathways

The direct projection of the cortex to the brainstem and spinal cord, the pyramidal tract, arises from the cortex in front of and behind the central sulcus. About 40 per cent of fibres arise from the primary somatic sensory cortex and the adjacent superior parietal lobe. In the frontal lobe, axons arise from the primary motor, premotor, and supplementary motor areas. Apart from the direct innervation of the spinal cord and motor nuclei of the cranial nerves, direct cortical fibres innervate the red nucleus, the vestibular nuclei, the reticular formation, and the superior colliculus. In the case of the first two of these, the origin of the fibres is probably very similar to the areas of origin of the pyramidal tract. In contrast, the cortical projections to the reticular formation and superior colliculus have a much wider origin, and may include most neocortical areas to a greater or lesser degree.

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