Glossary of Terms
Catecholamines - Chemicals produced by organs that are controlled by the sympathetic nervous system. These substances are involved in the fight-or-flight response to stress.
Cell Adhesion Molecules (CAMs) - Proteins that adhere to the surface of an elogating axon and direct it to its final address in the brain or spinal cord.
Central Nervous System - The brain and spinal cord.
Central Pattern Generator (CPG) - A network of spinal neurons that, when stimulated by neurotransmitters, cause the muscles of the legs to move in rhythmic stepping motions.
Cervical - The high-level nervous structure of the spinal cord responsible for controlling the neck muscles, diaphragm, shoulders, wrists, triceps and fingers.
Chondroitin Sulfate Proteoglycans - Molecules that are a major component of the scar that forms at the site of a spinal cord injury and inhibit axon regeneration. They may act on their own or, because of their large size and negative charge, may attract other growth inhibitors to the lesion – or both.
Cortocospinal Tract - A nerve circuit pathway that originates in the brain’s cerebral cortex and extends to lower levels of the cord, where descending axons send electrical impulses to the spinal motor neurons that, in turn, control the muscles.
Cytokines - Messenger molecules that enable immune cells to “talk” to one another and to other cells. Cytokines regulate the strength and duration of an immune response. Neurons also use certain cytokines to communicate with each other. Common cytokines include interferon, interlukin and lymphokines.
Cytoskeleton - A self-renewing support structure that enables cells, including neuron, to move and maintain their proper shape and size.
Courtesy Christopher Reeve Foundation