alimentary tract

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Related to alimentary tract: digestive system, digestive tube, gastrointestinal tract


pertaining to or caused by food or nutritive material.
alimentary canal (alimentary tract) the portion of the digestive system consisting of the organs making up the route taken by food as it passes through the body from mouth to anus; this includes the esophagus, stomach, and small and large intestines. ( and Plate 9.) Called also digestive tract.
Organs of the alimentary canal. From Applegate, 2000.


a longitudinal assemblage of tissues or organs, especially a number of anatomic structures arranged in series and serving a common function, such as the gastrointestinal or urinary tract; also used in reference to a bundle (or fasciculus) of nerve fibers having a common origin, function, and termination within the central nervous system.
alimentary tract alimentary canal.
biliary tract the organs, ducts, and other structures that participate in secretion (the liver), storage (the gallbladder), and delivery (hepatic and bile ducts) of bile into the duodenum. See illustration.
Anatomy of the gallbladder and biliary tract. From Aspinall and Taylor-Robinson, 2002.
corticospinal t's two groups of nerve fibers (the anterior and lateral corticospinal tracts) that originate in the cerebral cortex and run through the spinal cord.
digestive tract alimentary canal.
dorsolateral tract a group of nerve fibers in the lateral funiculus of the spinal cord dorsal to the posterior column.
extrapyramidal tract extrapyramidal system.
gastrointestinal tract the stomach and intestine in continuity; see also digestive system.
iliotibial tract a thickened longitudinal band of fascia lata extending from the tensor muscle downward to the lateral condyle of the tibia.
intestinal tract see intestinal tract.
optic tract the nerve tract proceeding backward from the optic chiasm, around the cerebral peduncle, and dividing into a lateral and medial root, which end in the superior colliculus and lateral geniculate body, respectively.
pyramidal t's collections of motor nerve fibers arising in the brain and passing down through the spinal cord to motor cells in the anterior horns.
respiratory tract respiratory system.
urinary tract the organs and passageways concerned in the production and excretion of urine from the kidneys to the urinary meatus; see also urinary system.
uveal tract the vascular tunic of the eye, comprising the choroid, ciliary body, and iris.

di·ges·tive tract

the passage leading from the mouth to the anus through the pharynx, esophagus, stomach, and intestine.

alimentary tract

di·ges·tive tract

(di-jes'tiv trakt)
The passage leading from the mouth to the anus through the pharynx, esophagus, stomach, and intestine.
Synonym(s): alimentary canal, alimentary tract.


(trakt) [L. tractus, extent]
1. A pathway, course, or channel.
2. A bundle of parallel axons in the central nervous system (CNS) that runs along a stereotyped course from a common originating area to a common termination area.
3. A group of organs or parts that form a continuous pathway.

aerodigestive tract

The anatomic region in the oral cavity and throat through which both air and food pass.

afferent tract

Any axon tract that carries information toward a particular target area.

alimentary tract

Digestive tract.

anterior spinocerebellar tract

Ventral spinocerebellar tract.

ascending tract

An axon tract running rostrally in the spinal cord or brain, often a sensory pathway.
Enlarge picture

biliary tract

The organs and ducts through which bile travels on its way to the duodenum. These are the bile canaliculi, right and left hepatic ducts, common hepatic duct, gallbladder, cystic duct, bile duct, and hepatopancreatic ampulla.
See: illustration; bile ducts; gallbladder; liver

Burdach tract

See: Burdach, Karl

central tegmental tract

An axon tract connecting the subthalamus and the midbrain reticular formation with the inferior olivary nucleus.

corticobulbar tract

An axon tract from the motor cortex that innervates the reticular formation and the cranial nerve nuclei in the hindbrain.


An axon tract from the frontal, parietal, and occipital cortices that innervates the hypothalamus.

corticospinal tract

An axon tract from the motor cortex that travels into the spinal cord, synapsing at all levels. Axons of the corticospinal tract first converge into a bundle in the posterior limb of the internal capsule and continue as a compact bundle through the cerebral peduncle. In the pons, the corticospinal tract separates into several bundles that converge more caudally in the hindbrain as the pyramid. In the caudal hindbrain, the corticospinal tract crosses the midline in the pyramidal decussation and continues down the spinal cord as the lateral corticospinal tract.

cuneocerebellar tract

An axon tract originating in the external cuneate nucleus and synapsing in the ipsilateral cerebellum.

descending tract

Any axon tract running caudally in the spinal cord or brain, often a motor pathway.

digestive tract

The continuous set of tubes that move food from the mouth to the anus.
Synonym: alimentary tract

direct cerebellar tract

Dorsal spinocerebellar tract.

dorsal spinocerebellar tract

An ipsilateral (uncrossed) axon tract originating throughout Clarke's column in the spinal cord. The tract runs in the lateral funiculus of the spinal cord and terminates in the ipsilateral vermis of the cerebellum.
Synonym: direct cerebellar tract

dorsolateral tract

Lissauer's tract.

efferent tract

Any axon tract that carries information away from a particular target area.

extrapyramidal tract

Any of the axon tracts of the extrapyramidal system.
See: extrapyramidal system

frontopontine tract

A tract that passes from the cerebral cortex of the frontal lobe through the internal capsule and cerebral peduncle to the pons.
Synonym: Arnold's bundle

gastrointestinal tract

The esophagus, stomach, and intestines.

geniculohypothalamic tract

An axon tract originating in the lateral geniculate nucleus of the thalamus and innervating the suprachiasmatic nuclei of the hypothalamus. The suprachiasmatic nuclei contain pacemakers of the circadian rhythm system, and the geniculohypothalamic tract provides visual input that helps to entrain the pacemaker cells.

genital tract

In males, the channels by which spermatozoa leave the body. In females, the channels in which the ovum grows and is fertilized and through which the baby leaves the body.
Synonym: reproductive tract

genitourinary tract

The genital and urinary tracts together.
Synonym: urogenital tract

habenulo-interpeduncular tract

Fasciculus retroflexus.

iliotibial tract

A thickened band in the deep fascia along the lateral thigh (i.e., the fascia lata) that extends from the tubercle of the iliac crest to the lateral condyle of the tibia. The iliotibial tract is an aponeurosis shared by both the gluteus maximus and tensor fasciae lata muscles, both of which insert into it.

internodal tract

In the heart, myocardial tissue in the right atrium that preferentially carries sinoatrial impulses to the left atrium, to the intra-atrial septum, or to the atrioventricular node.

intestinal tract

The small and large intestines.

Lissauer's tract

See: Lissauer's tract

lower gastrointestinal tract

The anus, rectum, colon, cecum, ileum and jejunum.

mammillotegmental tract

An axon tract originating in the mammillary body and synapsing in small nuclei near the caudal end of the midbrain tegmentum.

mammillothalamic tract

An axon tract originating in the mammillary body and synapsing in the anterior nucleus of the thalamus. The mammillothalamic tract is an integral component of the loop of neural circuits called the limbic system.

medullary reticulospinal tract

See: reticulospinal tract

mesencephalic tract of the trigeminal nerve

An axon tract of the unipolar sensory neurons of the trigeminal mesencephalic nucleus. Peripheral processes of these neurons run in the mesencephalic tract to reach the mandibular nerve (CN V3) and carry proprioceptive information from the face and the teeth. Axons of these neurons run in the mesencephalic tract and innervate a number of central nuclei, including the trigeminal motor nucleus.
Synonym: trigeminal mesencephalic tract

motor tract

Any axon tract, usually running caudally in the CNS, that transmits output information.

olfactory tract

A white ribbon-like band along the bottom (orbital) surface of each frontal lobe, composed of axons from the mitral cells in olfactory bulb. These axons terminate in the piriform cortex (the primary olfactory cortex) at the base of the cerebral hemisphere.

olivocerebellar tract

An axon tract running transversely (as opposed to longitudinally) in the hindbrain from the inferior olivary nucleus to all parts of the cerebellum via the inferior cerebellar peduncle.

optic tract

The main bundle of axons from the optic nerves caudal to the optic chiasm. Axons from the temporal half of the retina continue in the ipsilateral optic tract; axons from the nasal half of the retina cross the midline of the brain in the optic chiasm and join the contralateral optic tract. Most optic tract axons synapse in the lateral geniculate nucleus of the thalamus; most of the remaining optic tract axons synapse in the superior colliculus (optic tectum) of the midbrain.

pontine reticulospinal tract

See: reticulospinal tract

pyramidal tract

The corticobulbar and corticospinal tracts, which are the major direct outputs of the motor cortex. In cross-sections of the hindbrain, the pyramidal tract has a triangular shape.

reproductive tract

Genital tract.

respiratory tract

The respiratory channel from mouth and nose to the alveoli in the lungs.

reticulospinal tract

Either of two tracts:the pontine reticulospinal tract or the medullary reticulospinal tract. The pontine reticulospinal tract contains axons originating in the pontine reticular formation; the axons run into the spinal cord along the ventral midline (the medial part of the anterior funiculus). The medullary reticulospinal tract contains axons originating in the medial two thirds of the hindbrain reticular formation; these axons run into the spinal cord in the anterior part of the lateral funiculus.

retinohypothalamic tract

The retinal ganglion cell axons from the optic nerves that leave the optic tract at the optic chiasm to innervate the suprachiasmatic nucleus (in the hypothalamus), which contains the pacemaker cells for circadian rhythms.

rubrospinal tract

An axon tract originating in the red nucleus of the midbrain. After leaving the red nucleus, axons cross to the contralateral side and descend into the spinal cord, where they terminate in the ventral horns. The red nucleus is innervated by axons from the motor cortices and the cerebellum, and the rubrospinal pathway is an extrapyramidal route to the spinal cord. A major function of rubrospinal axons is to set and adjust the muscle tone in the flexor muscles.

sensory tract

Any axon tract, usually traveling rostrally in the CNS, that transmits information related to somatic or visceral sensation.

solitary tract

Tractus solitarius.

spinal tract of the trigeminal nerve

A tract of somatic sensory axons from the trigeminal nerve that runs caudally from the midpontine level of the brainstem along the spinal nucleus of the trigeminal nerve. The tract carries pain and temperature information from the face, and its axons synapse topographically in the adjacent nucleus. In the transition zone between hindbrain and spinal cord, the spinal tract of the trigeminal nerve disappears into the tract of Lissauer although a few axons of the spinal tract extend as far caudally as spinal cord segment C3-C4.
Synonym: trigeminal spinal tract


The dorsal or the ventral spinocerebellar tract.

spinothalamic tract

The lateral or the anterior spinothalamic tract. Both tracts are bundles of axons running rostrally in the ventrolateral quadrant (the ventral half of the lateral funiculus) of the spinal cord, originating from contralateral dorsal horn neurons, and synapsing in the ventral posterolateral (VPL) nucleus of the thalamus. The lateral spinothalamic tract carries pain and temperature information from the body; the anterior spinothalamic tract (adjacent and dorsal to the lateral tract) carries light touch information.

supraopticohypophyseal tract

, supraopticohypophyial tract
A tract of fibers arising from cell bodies located in supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei of the hypothalamus and terminating in the posterior lobe of the hypophysis.

trigeminal mesencephalic tract

Mesencephalic tract of the trigeminal nerve.

trigeminal spinal tract

Spinal tract of the trigeminal nerve.

trigeminothalamic tract

Trigeminal lemniscus.

upper gastrointestinal tract

The esophagus, stomach, and duodenum.

urinary tract

The channel followed by urine in the body, from the glomeruli in the kidneys through the ureters, bladder, and urethra.

urogenital tract

Genitourinary tract.

uveal tract

The vascular and pigmented tissues that constitute the middle layer of the wall of the eye. The tract comprises the iris, ciliary body, and choroid.
Synonym: vascular tunic of the eye

ventral spinocerebellar tract

An axon tract originating in the contralateral dorsal and intermediate horns of the lower spinal cord, from the coccygeal through the lumbar segments. This tract runs in the lateral funiculus of the spinal cord, recrosses the midline, and terminates in the ipsilateral vermis of the cerebellum.
Synonym: anterior spinocerebellar tract

ventricular outflow tract

In the heart, the pathway through which blood is normally ejected from the ventricle. For the left ventricle, it includes the walls of the ventricle, the anterior leaflet of the mitral valve, the aortic valve, the ascending aorta, and the arch of the aorta. For the right ventricle, it includes the walls of the ventricle, the pulmonic valve, the pulmonary trunk, and the pulmonary arteries.

vestibulospinal tract

An axon tract that conveys balance and equilibrium information to the spinal cord from the vestibular nuclei in the brainstem. The medial vestibulospinal tract is the continuation of the medial longitudinal fasciculus (MLF) caudally into the spinal cord below the cervical levels; it runs along the medial margin of the ventral quadrant of the cord. The lateral vestibulospinal tract runs caudally in an anterior band in the ventral and ventrolateral quadrant of the spinal cord.

vocal tract

The tissues and organs that produce human vocalizations, including lips, tongue, mouth, nasal cavities, pharynx, and larynx.

di·ges·tive tract

(di-jes'tiv trakt)
Passage from mouth to anus through pharynx, esophagus, stomach, and intestine.
Synonym(s): alimentary tract.

alimentary tract

see alimentary canal, digestive system.

alimentary tract abnormal motility
includes hypermotility, hypermotility, stasis.
alimentary tract congenital defects
includes agenesis, aplasia, achalasia.
alimentary tract dysfunction
inability of the alimentary tract to carry out properly the functions of prehension, swallowing, digestion and absorption of food. The mode of the dysfunction may be one of abnormal motor function, expressed by errors in motility, or of chemical function relating to secretion of digestive juices, including hypersecretion and fluid loss, and absorption of the products of digestion.
alimentary tract functional movement arrests
see ileus.
alimentary tract motility
the movements of the stomach and intestines which are the means of propelling food through the tract. They include peristalsis, segmenting movements and sphincter relaxation. Abnormality may take the form of hyper- or hypomotility.
alimentary tract mycosis
alimentary tract pain
see colic.
alimentary tract secretory function
includes gastric and pancreatic secretion, and secretion of intestinal glands.
alimentary tract stimulant
a traditional pharmaceutical maneuver of increasing gut motility by the oral administration of medicines which cause physical irritation of the mucosa, e.g. aloin, castor oil, croton oil.
References in periodicals archive ?
We previously showed that in the subterranean termite Reticulitermes flavipes conidia of Metarhizium anisopliae did not germinate in the alimentary tract of living termites and the antifungal activity remained for 2 d post mortem in the gut.
Comparative ontogenesis of body mass, skeleton, alimentary tract, and endocrine system of moose (Alces alces) and other ruminants are given in the report.
A total of 45 prey items were found in the alimentary tracts of 42 canebrake rattlesnakes, and included at least two amphibian, one reptile, two bird, and 13 mammal species (Table 1).
As Schoenfeldt would doubtless concede, however, the alimentary tract was by no means the exclusive bodily location for early modern experiences of inwardness.
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