The corticospinal tract (CST) is the main neural pathway responsible for conducting voluntary motor function in the central nervous system. The CST condenses into fiber bundles as it descends from the frontoparietal cortex, traveling down to terminate at the anterior horn of the spinal cord. The CST is at risk of injury from vascular insult from strokes and during neurosurgical procedures. The aim of this article is to identify and describe the vasculature associated with the CST from the cortex to the medulla. Dissection of cadaveric specimens was carried out in a manner, which exposed and preserved the fiber tracts of the CST, as well as the arterial systems that supply them. At the level of the motor cortex, the CST is supplied by terminal branches of the anterior cerebral artery and middle cerebral artery. The white matter tracts of the corona radiata and internal capsule are supplied by small perforators including the lenticulostriate arteries and branches of the anterior choroidal artery. In the brainstem, the CST is supplied by anterior perforating branches from the basilar and vertebral arteries. The caudal portions of the CST in the medulla are supplied by the anterior spinal artery, which branches from the vertebral arteries. The non-anastomotic nature of the vessel systems of the CST highlights the importance of their preservation during neurosurgical procedures. Anatomical knowledge of the CST is paramount to clinical diagnosis and treatment of heterogeneity of neurodegenerative, neuroinflammatory, cerebrovascular, and skull base tumors.
- anterior choroidal artery
- anterior perforated substance
- corticospinal tract
- white matter
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