Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Gray Matter

  • Jeff DupreeEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_321


Gray substance; Substantia grisea


Brownish gray regions of the brain and spinal cord that contain the neuronal cell bodies.

Current Knowledge

Based on distinction by the naked eye, the central nervous system (CNS) can be divided into two parts known as white matter and gray matter. These regions were first distinguished by Thomas Willis in his Anatomy of the Brainpublished in 1664. The white matter contains high levels of lipid and thus appears white contrasting with a brownish gray hue commonly associated with the gray matter. The gray matter is formed by the cortex and nuclei of the brain, the horns of the spinal cord, and the ganglia. These regions are heavily populated by dense neuronal cell bodies and numerous capillaries and associated blood cells. Together, the cell bodies and the capillaries are responsible for the darker, grayish color. In addition to the neuronal cell bodies and the endothelial cells of the capillaries, the gray matter also contains...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Anatomy and NeurobiologyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA