Vertebral column 1: introduction and typical features
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List some of the functions of the vertebral column?
- To provide internal support for the body
- Provide protection for the spinal cord that runs along its length
- Support and protection of local structures
- Provides large surface area for muscle attachment
- Needed for transfer of propulsive forces generated by the hind limbs during locomotion
The spinal column is composed of individual bones called ...?
The vertebral column forms part of the axial/appendicular skeleton?
What type of bone are vertebrae?
Vertebrae consist of an outer layer of ... bone? And in the centre are made up of ... bone?
The ... is the large region of bone that is roughly cylindrical in shape?
What are the cranial and caudal surfaces of the vertebral body known as? And what shape are they both?
- Cranial endplate - convex
- Caudal endplate - concave
What is the name of the space between the adjacent vertebral endplates? What occupies this space in life?
The intervertebral disc space - it is occupied by a soft tissue structure called the intervertebral disc
What part of the vertebra is located dorsal to the vertebral body?
The vertebral arch
What features form the walls and roof of the vertebral arch?
- Right and left pedicles - wall
- Right and left laminae - roof
What is the name of the space formed by the vertebral arch and body through which the spinal cord runs through each individual vertebra?
The vertebral foramen
What is the name of the hollow channel that runs the length of the vertebral column when all the vertebrae align?
The vertebral canal
What features are located at the cranial and caudal aspects of each pedicle? How many of these are present in each vertebra?
Cranial and caudal notches. There are a total of 4 notches per vertebra.
What is the intervertebral foramen?
The spaces formed between cranial and caudal notches of adjacent vertebrae when the vertebrae align.
What structures leave the vertebral canal through the intervertebral foramen?
Spinal nerves and blood vessels
Where are articular facets located on a vertebra and what is their function? How many are present in a vertebra?
- They are located at the junction between the pedicle and lamina at the cranial and caudal aspects of the vertebra. These allow each vertebra to articulate with the vertebrae cranial and caudal to it.
- There are a total of 4 on each vertebra
What type of joints are formed between articular facets of adjacent vertebrae?
What is the name of the bony projection located on the dorsal surface of the vertebral arch? What is its function
- The dorsal spinous process
- Its function is to increase the surface area for muscle and ligament attachment
How many transverse processes are present in each vertebra?
In the developing embryo, what type of mesoderm forms somites?
What part of the somite goes on to form the axial skeleton?
How many sclerotomes contribute to the formation of one whole vertebra?
How many centres of ossification does the vertebral body form from?
What is 'block vertebrae'?
When the cranial and caudal parts of the sclerotomes fail to separate properly. This results in two adjacent vertebrae fused together with no intervertebral disc space of articulations.
What are 'transitional vertebrae'?
Vertebrae located at the boundary between different regions of the vertebral column that are confused as to which region they belong to e.g. 1st lumbar vertebrae with a rib or last thoracic vertebrae without one
What are 'hemivertebrae'?
When the vertebral body fails to form properly; instead of being its normal cylindrical shape the vertebral body is triangular instead. This is why they are sometimes called wedge or butterfly vertebrae. This can cause deviation of the vertebral column.
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