Brain: White Matter-Gray Matter (MRI)

At the level of the cerebral hemisphere, gray matter is mainly distributed in the periphery (cortex) while the white matter is deep. However, there is gray matter in depth of the brain called basal ganglia.

In the brainstem, gray matter is usually found in the depth while the white matter is superficial.

In the spinal cord, gray matter is located centrally, while the white matter forms the bulk of the superficial parts.

The distribution white matter – gray matter inside the brain is illustrated by MRI of the brain (axial sections). On some axial cuts, the thalamus and some basal ganglia (putamen, caudate nucleus, substantia nigra) were given as an example of “deep gray matter”. On other cuts, the corpus callosum and internal capsule have been indicated as an example of “white matter tracts”.

Image 1. MRI of the brain, T1-weighted axial view.
1, Cerebral hemisphere (Right side). 2, Grey matter. 3, White matter (corona radiata).

  • Image 1. MRI of the brain, T1-weighted axial view.
    1, Cerebral hemisphere (Right side). 2, Grey matter. 3, White matter (corona radiata).

  • Image 2. MRI of the brain, T1-weighted axial view.
    1, Insula (Cortex/Gray matter). 2, Putamen (Ganglia gray matter). 3, Corpus callosum (White matter).

  • Image 3. MRI of the brain, T1-weighted axial view.
    1, Right anterior limb, internal capsule (White matter). 2, Caudate nucleus (Ganglia gray matter). 3, Left posterior limb, internal capsule (White matter). 4, Thalamus (gray matter).

  • Image 4 of 4. MRI of the brain, T1-weighted axial view.
    1, Substantia nigra (Gray matter formation). 2, White matter of midbrain. 3, Periaqueductal gray matter.

Reference:

• Harnsberger HR, Osborn AG, Ross JS, Moore KR, Salzman KL, Carrasco CR, Halmiton BE, Davidson HC, Wiggins RH. Diagnostic and Surgical Imaging Anatomy: Brain, Head and Neck, Spine. 3rd ed. Salt Lake City, Utah. Amirsys. 2007.
• Bourjat P, Veillon F. Imagerie radiologique tête et cou. Paris, Vigot. 1995.
• Gouazé A, Baumann JA, Dhem A. Sobota. Atlas d’Anatomie humaine. Tome 3. Système nerveux central, système nerveux autonome, organe des sens et peau, vaisseaux et nerfs périphériques. 1er éd. Paris, Maloine. 1977.
• Kahle W, Cabrol C. Anatomie. Tome 3: Système nerveux et organe des sens. 1er éd. Paris, Flammarion. 1979.

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