Spinal Cord Function – The spinal cord is the soft tissue that is in the middle of the spine. The spinal cord is where red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells are produced. Without blood cells produced in the spinal cord, your body won’t function properly.
The spinal cord has been formed since it was in the womb. Initially, the formation will be done by the heart. The function of blood cell formation will be taken over the bone marrow at the gestational age of 32 to 36 weeks.
The bone marrow of a newborn baby consists of only one type, namely red marrow. This lasts until the child is 7 years old. The child needs the formation of high blood cells due to their growth period.
After more than 7 years, there are 2 types of spinal cord in our body, namely red marrow and yellow marrow. Both have important roles, but different functions.
Spinal Cord Function
The spinal cord function plays an important role in various aspects of body function. Examples of major spinal cord functions are:
A signal carrier of the brain
Spinal cord function as a signal carrier of the brain: The spinal cord receives signals from the brain that control autonomic movement and function.
A carrier of information to the brain
Spinal cord function as a carrier of information to the brain: The spinal cord nerve also sends messages to the brain from the body, such as sensations of touch, pressure, and pain.
Spinal cord function in reflex response: The spinal cord can also act independently of the brain in performing motor reflexes. One example is the patellar reflex, which causes a person’s knee to accidentally jerk when tapped in a certain place.
Communication between nerves
In carrying out its function, nerve cells (neurons) must communicate with each other. The communication that occurs is the delivery of electrical signals. First the body’s sensors receive stimulus, then the sensors that in fact are these nerve cells convert them into electrical signals.
These electrical signals will be relayed to the brain for processing. However, before it reaches the brain, these signals first empties into the spinal cord, which is then passed to the brain for processing. After the brain processes it, then the commands appear, these command signals are then channeled again to the bone marrow to then get to the body effector.
Body movements and organ work.
When a person walks, some leg muscles will contract. This step-foot movement may look simple and easy, because we have done it too often, even though there are many factors that must be coordinated properly for this movement to occur.
This part of the spinal cord that consists of neurons sends signals to the leg muscles and makes them stretch or contract. The result is the back-and-forth movement that occurs when a person walks. Likewise with other gestures, including internal organs, either initiated by a stimulus or direct command from the brain.
Spinal Cord Function According To The Types
There are two bone marrow main types, red bone marrow and yellow bone marrow, each of which has its own function and role.
The bone marrow is not only in the spine, but also in other large bones. But the bone marrow, especially the red marrow is mostly in the spine.
Red marrow is also called as myeloid tissue. The red marrow consists of fibrous tissue which contains hematopoietic cells or cells that produce blood cells. It is where red blood cells are produced, platelets, and most of the white blood cells.
White blood cells do not experience complete maturation in the bone marrow, but maturation will occur in other organs such as the thymus, lymph nodes, and spleen.
White blood cells play a role in the body’s immune system. The life time of white blood cells is the least, which is only about 10 days.
Red blood cells are the cells responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. Every day, the spinal cord produces over than 220 million red blood cells.
This will replace about 1% of the total red blood cells in the body. Red blood cells that have been formed will survive for 120 days before being replaced with new red blood cells.
Pieces of blood are cells that help blood clot in case of a wound in your body. The platelet cells age only 10 days before they are replaced by other cells.
In addition, the red marrow also serves to destroy red blood cells that have been damaged or old. This function is carried out along with the spleen and liver.
Yellow marrow is the tissue that contains mesenchymal cells. This tissue serves to make connective tissue of the body, such as fat, muscle, bone cells, and cartilage.
In addition, yellow marrow also serves to store fat & nutrients needed by the red marrow to be used in carrying out its functions.
If certain conditions occur in the body, such as infection and blood loss, the yellow marrow has the ability to turn into red blood cells and can increase the production capacity of blood cells.