III. Morphometry of Myelinated Fibers of Rami Communicantes

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The myelinated fiber (MF) composition of T6-T8 Rami Communicantes were obtained in 9 healthy persons of various ages. The textbook picture that distal rami (DR) contain all of the myelinated fibers and therefore are white, while proximal rami (PR) contain none of them and therefore are grey must be modified. We found that DR usually contained abundant MFs and that PR contained variable numbers of MFs, sometimes as many as DR. A close enough concordance was found between segmental numbers of intermediolateral nuclei cytons, ventral root small myelinated fibers (SMFs), and rami total small MFs to suggest that both rami probably contain the distal myelinated axons of preganglionic autonomic fibers. Finally, there was an attrition of total MFs of rami with age, similar to what we had previously found for ILC cytons and for root SMFs. The decrease in number of pre-ganglionic autonomic neurons with age is thought to be of sufficient magnitude to account for the dysautonomia of the elderly.

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