AskDefine | Define ganglion

Dictionary Definition

ganglion n : an encapsulated neural structure consisting of a collection of cell bodies or neurons [also: ganglia (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



From γάγγλιον.


  • (US) /ˈgæŋgliən/


  1. a mass of tissue, outside of the brain, containing a cluster of interconnecting nerve cells
  2. By extension, a centre of power or authority

Derived terms


cluster of interconnecting nerve cells outside the brain
  • Finnish: ganglio, hermosolmu
  • French: ganglion
  • German: Ganglion
centre of power or authority
  • Finnish: hermokeskus




Extensive Definition

In anatomy, a ganglion (pl. ganglia) is a tissue mass.


In neurological contexts, ganglia are composed mainly of somata and dendritic structures that often interconnect with other ganglia to form a complex system of ganglia known as a plexus. Ganglia provide relay points and intermediary connections between different neurological structures in the body, such as the peripheral and central nervous systems.
There are two major groups of ganglia:
In the autonomic nervous system, fibers from the central nervous system to the ganglia are known as preganglionic fibers, while those from the ganglia to the effector organ are called postganglionic fibers.

Basal ganglia

The term "ganglion" usually refers to the peripheral nervous system.
However, in the brain (part of the central nervous system), the "basal ganglia" is a group of nuclei interconnected with the cerebral cortex, thalamus and brainstem, associated with a variety of functions: motor control, cognition, emotions and learning.
Partly due to this ambiguity, the Terminologia Anatomica recommends using the term "basal nuclei" instead of "basal ganglia".


ganglion in German: Ganglion (Nervensystem)
ganglion in Estonian: Ganglion
ganglion in Spanish: Ganglio nervioso
ganglion in French: Ganglion nerveux
ganglion in Italian: Ganglio
ganglion in Hebrew: גנגליון
ganglion in Macedonian: Ганглија
ganglion in Dutch: Zenuwknoop
ganglion in Japanese: 神経節
ganglion in Norwegian: Ganglion
ganglion in Polish: Zwój (anatomia)
ganglion in Portuguese: Gânglio nervoso
ganglion in Russian: Ганглий
ganglion in Serbian: Ганглион
ganglion in Finnish: Hermosolmu
ganglion in Swedish: Ganglion
ganglion in Tajik: Гангли

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

afferent neuron, autonomic nervous system, axon, brain, center of activity, central nervous system, cerebral cortex, craniosacral nervous system, dendrite, effector organ, efferent neuron, gray matter, internuncial neuron, medullary sheath, nerve, nerve center, nerve trunk, nervous system, neuron, peripheral nervous system, plexus, sensorium, sensory area, sensory cell, solar plexus, spinal cord, synapse, thoracolumbar nervous system, vital center, white matter
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