The Central Canal (canalis centralis) runs throughout the entire length of the medulla spinalis. The portion of gray substance in front of the canal is named the anterior gray commissure; that behind it, the posterior gray commissure. The former is thin, and is in contact anteriorly with the anterior white commissure: it contains a couple of longitudinal veins, one on either side of the middle line. The posterior gray commissure reaches from the central canal to the posterior median septum, and is thinnest in the thoracic region, and thickest in the conus medullaris. The central canal is continued upward through the lower part of the medulla oblongata, and opens into the fourth ventricle of the brain; below, it reaches for a short distance into the filum terminale. In the lower part of the conus medullaris it exhibits a fusiform dilatation, the terminal ventricle; this has a vertical measurement of from 8 to 10 mm., is triangular on cross-section with its base directed forward, and tends to undergo obliteration after the age of forty years.


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