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Anterior spinal artery

Artery: Anterior spinal artery
Arteries of the brain, brain stem and upper spinal cord (anterior spinal artery at bottom)
1: posterior spinal vein
2: anterior spinal vein
3: posterolateral spinal vein
4: radicular (or segmental medullary) vein
5: posterior spinal arteries
6: anterior spinal artery
7: radicular (or segmental medullary) artery
Latin arteria spinalis anterior
Gray's subject #148
Source vertebral arteries
Vein anterior spinal veins
Dorlands/Elsevier a_61/12156004

In human anatomy, the anterior spinal artery is the blood vessel that supplies the anterior portion of the spinal cord. It arises from branches of the vertebral arteries and is supplied by the anterior segmental medullary arteries, including the artery of Adamkiewicz, and courses along the anterior aspect of the spinal cord.



The anterior spinal artery is a small branch, which arises near the termination of the vertebral, and, descending in front of the medulla oblongata, unites with its fellow of the opposite side at the level of the foramen magnum.

One of these vessels is usually larger than the other, but occasionally they are about equal in size.

The single trunk, thus formed, descends on the front of the medulla spinalis, and is reinforced by a succession of small branches which enter the vertebral canal through the intervertebral foramina; these branches are derived from the vertebral artery and the ascending cervical artery of the inferior thyroid artery in the neck; from the intercostal arteries in the thorax; and from the lumbar artery, iliolumbar artery and lateral sacral arteries in the abdomen and pelvis.

They unite, by means of ascending and descending branches, to form a single anterior median artery, which extend as far as the lower part of the medulla spinalis, and is continued as a slender twig on the filum terminale.

This vessel is placed in the pia mater along the anterior median fissure; it supplies that membrane, and the substance of the medulla spinalis, and sends off branches at its lower part to be distributed to the cauda equina.


Disruption of the anterior spinal cord leads to bilateral disruption of the corticospinal tract, causing motor deficits, and bilateral disruption of the spinothalamic tract, causing sensory deficits in the form of pain/temperature sense loss. See also Medial medullary syndrome

See also

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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.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Anterior_spinal_artery". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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