In anatomy, a ganglion (plural ''ganglia'') is a biological tissue mass, most commonly a mass of nerve cell bodies. Cells found in a ganglion are called ganglion cells, though this term is also sometimes used to refer specifically to retinal ganglion cells.
In neurological contexts, ganglia are composed mainly of
somata and dendritic structures which are bundled or connected together.
Ganglia often interconnect with other ganglia to form a complex system
of ganglia known as a plexus. Ganglia provide relay points and
intermediary connections between different neurological structures in
the body, such as the peripheral and central nervous systems.
There are two major groups of ganglia:
- Dorsal root ganglia (also known as the spinal ganglia) contain the cell bodies of sensory (afferent) nerves.
- Autonomic ganglia contain the cell bodies of autonomic nerves.
In the autonomic nervous system, fibers from the central
nervous system to the ganglia are known as preganglionic fibers, while
those from the ganglia to the effector organ are called postganglionic
The term "ganglion" usually refers to the peripheral nervous system.
However, in the brain (part of the central nervous system),
the "basal ganglia" is a group of nuclei interconnected with the
cerebral cortex, thalamus and brainstem, associated with a variety of
functions: motor control, cognition, emotions and learning.
Partly due to this ambiguity, the ''Terminologia Anatomica''
recommends using the term ''basal nuclei'' instead of ''basal
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