The substantia nigra is a layer of gray substance containing numerous deeply pigmented, multipolar nerve cells. It is semilunar on transverse section, its concavity being directed toward the tegmentum; from its convexity, prolongations extend between the fibers of the base of the peduncle. Thicker medially than laterally, it reaches from the oculomotor sulcus to the lateral sulcus, and extends from the upper surface of the pons to the subthalamic region; its medial part is traversed by the fibers of the oculomotor nerve as these stream forward to reach the oculomotor sulcus. The connections of the cells of the substantia nigra have not been definitely established. It receives collaterals from the medial lemniscus and the pyramidal bundles. Bechterew is of the opinion that the fibers from the motor area of the cerebral cortex form synapses with cells whose axons pass to the motor nucleus of the trigeminal nerve and serve for the coördination of the muscles of mastication.

This definition incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy (20th U.S. edition of Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body, published in 1918 – from


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