Columns of Goll and Burdach

Columns of Goll and BurdachThese comprise four great sensory tracts - two on either side of the posterior median septum - which convey impulses up towards the brain; the columns of Goll are the innermost and lie one on either side of the septum. They are made up mainly of the axons of the bipolar cells of the posterior root ganglia of the spinal nerves.

The axon enters the cord close behind the apex of the posterior horn and gives off a large descending collateral branch which runs downwards, forming by its secondary branches arborisations around cells in all parts of the grey matter (Fig. 39).

The axon itself passes upwards, close to the mesial aspect of the posterior horn, in the column of Burdach; as it ascends it inclines more and more towards the median septum, and, if it be from one of the lower nerves, enters the column of Goll and so proceeds to the medulla.

It will be evident, therefore, that the separation of the columns of Goll and Burdach is mainly descriptive; in a section across the cord close to the medulla, axons from all the posterior roots will be found - those from the lowest (sacral and lumbar) nerves lying nearest the middle line, while those from the upper (cervical) are further out close to the mesial aspect of the posterior horn (Fig. 40).

Some of the fibres which enter the tract of Burdach do not run to the medulla but pass off at intervals into the base of the posterior horn arborising round its cells. The most notable of this series are those which arborise around the cells of Clarke's column.