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The motor system is the part of the peripheral nervous system that is involved to movement. It consists of the motor cortex, pyramidal and extrapyramidal system.

The motor pathway also called pyramidal tract or the corticospinal tract starts in the motor center of the cerebral cortex.[1] There are upper and lower motor neurons in the corticospinal tract. The motor impulses originates in the Giant pyramidal cells or Betz cells of the motor area i.e. precentral gyrus of cerebral cortex. These are the upper motor neurons (UMN) of the corticospinal tract. The axons of these cells pass in the depth of the cerebral cortex to the Corona radiata and then to the Internal Capsule passing through the posterior branch of internal capsule and continue to descend in the Midbrain and the Medulla Oblongata. In the lower part of Medulla oblongata 80 to 85% of these fibers decussate (pass to the opposite side) and descend in the White matter of the Lateral funiculus of the spinal cord on the opposite side. The remaining 15 to 20% pass to the same side. Fibers for the extremities (limbs) pass 100% to the opposite side. The fibers of the corticospinal tract terminate at different levels in the Anterior horn of the Grey matter of the spinal cord. Here the Lower Motor Neurons (LMN) of the corticospinal cord are located. Peripheral motor nerves carry the motor impulses from the anterior horn to the voluntary muscles.

Maturation of the motor system and motor development[]

See also[]


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  1. Rizzolatti G, Luppino G (2001) The Cortical Motor System. Neuron 31: 889-901 SD