The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Grey matter

Grey matter is a category of nervous tissue with many nerve cell bodies and few myelinated axons.

Grey matter looks reddish grey on a freshly removed brain. It forms the superficial parts of the brain and the deep parts of the spinal cord. It is composed of the bodies of the nerve cells (neuron) and the initial parts of its processes (axons and dendrites) just emerging from the neurons. Grey matter is the major part of the nervous system in which the nerve impulses for all kinds of mental functions are produced and then sent away to be carried to their target organs by white matter.

The cerebrum and the subcortical nuclei , such as the putamen and the caudate nucleus, are composed of grey matter.

Generally, grey matter can be understood as the parts of the brain responsible for information processing; whereas, white matter is responsible for information transmission. In addition, grey matter does not have a myelin sheath and does not regenerate after injury unlike white matter.

Not to be confused with dark matter (matter that doesn't emit light).

Last updated: 06-01-2005 22:38:06
Last updated: 09-12-2005 02:39:13