Morphology of the spinal nerves from the cervical segments of the spinal cord of the African giant rat (cricetomys gambianus).
This study provides detailed description of the gross morphology and distribution of the nerves arising from the cervical segments of the spinal cord of the African Giant Rat (AGR). Two (2) AGRs were used for this study. The rats were euthanized using halothane. The skin and superficial fascia were removed, and dissection of the muscles in the cervical region and thoracic limbs was carried out. The vertebral canal was opened by means of a rongeur. Eight (8) pairs of spinal nerves (C1-C8) arose from the cervical segments of the spinal cord of the AGR by means of dorsal and ventral roots which merged lateral to the spinal cord to form spinal nerves. Each cervical spinal nerve divided into a dorsal and ventral ramus just before exiting the intervertebral foramen. The dorsal rami divided into medial and lateral branches distributed on the medial faces of the semispinalis and splenius muscles, respectively. The ventral rami of C1, C2 and a branch from C3 interconnected to form the cervical plexus from which branches were distributed to the M. cleidomstoideus, M. cleidooccipitalis, M. occipitoscapularis, M. omotransversarius and M. trapezius. The ventral rami of C5, C6, C7, C8 and T1 (first thoracic spinal nerve) interconnected to form the brachial plexus. The cervical spinal nerves gave rise to dorsal rami or primary branches that supplied the skin and muscles of the dorsal part of the neck and the ventral primary branches which interconnected to give rise to the cervical plexus and brachial plexuses of the AGR.