Dorsolateral fasciculus

Last revised by William Howden on 2 Apr 2023

The dorsolateral fasciculus (also known as Lissaeur's tract or the posterolateral tract) is a bundle of white matter fibers within the posterolateral spinal cord.


The dorsolateral fasciculus lies between the apex of the dorsal grey matter and the surface of the cord, surrounding the afferent dorsal nerve root fibers. The tract is present throughout the cord, though is most developed in the cervical segment. As they enter the cord, afferent axons from the dorsal nerve root bifurcate into ascending or descending branches. These fibers travel within the dorsolateral fasciculus for one or two segments before they terminate by synapsing with dorsal horn neurons.

The tract is intimately related to the substantia gelatinosa, which is thought to represent its terminal nucleus.

History and etymology

The dorsolateral fasciculus was described by Heinrich Lissauer (1861–1891), a Polish neurologist who worked at the psychiatric hospital in Breslau 2,3.

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