QS Study

Pathway and Functions of Spinothalamic Tract

The spinothalamic tract is one of the ascending sensory tracts which transmit sensory information from the periphery to the central processing systems. It transmits the sensations of touch, pain, pressure, and temperature

Parts: Consist of –

  • Anterior Spino-thalamic tract – It conveys information about crude, poorly localized touch, and pressure.
  • Lateral Spino-thalamic tract – It transmits information regarding pain and temperature.


Substantia gelatinous of dorsal column of the opposite side of spinal cord.

Fig: Pathway of Spinothalamic Tract


  • Axons of the cell of dorsal root (1st order neuron) ganglia.
  • Substantia gelatinosa of dorsal column of same side.
  • Axons from substantia gelatinosa crosses and go to (2nd order neuron) opposite side.
  • Ascend as an anterior spinothalamic tract or lateral spinothalamic tract.
  • Ventral posterolateral nucleus of thalamus (3rd order neuron begins).


Fibers from a ventral posterolateral nucleus of thalamus terminate into the somatosensory area of cerebral cortex (postcentral gyms, Broadman are 3, 1, 2).


Anterior spinothalamic tract:

  • Pathway for crude (light) touch of opposite side.
  • Pathway for the pressure of the opposite side it is for tactile localization.

Lateral spinothalamic tract:

  • Pathway for the pain of the opposite side.
  • Pathway for temperature (both heat and cold) of the opposite side.
  • The fibers of the lateral spinothalamic tract conduct information about temperature and pain.