To know the difference between upper and lower motor neurons, let’s get introduced to these terms. The Central Nervous system (CNS) consists of the brain in the spinal cord and upper motor neurons are higher up in the CNS whereas lower motor neurons are located at the lower regions of the CNS. Also known as motoneuron, motor neuron is the neuron having cell body located in the motor cortex, spinal cord or the brainstem, and whose axon fiber projects to the spinal cord or outside of the spinal cord (to directly/indirectly controlling effector organs like muscles and glands. Spinal cord is the place where a communication between upper and lower motor neurons takes place.
Upper motor neurons (upper nerve cells) are present in the cerebral cortex and also brainstem carry information down to activate interneurons and also lower motor neurons which ultimately signal muscles to contract or relax.
It is the nerve cell that goes from the spinal cord to the muscle Its cell body is in the spinal cord and its termination takes place in a skeletal muscle.
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Let’s see at the below tabular chart to know the upper motor neuron vs lower motor neuron.
The difference between upper and lower motor neuron lesion is such that an upper motor neuron lesion is the lesion that occurs in the neural pathway above the anterior horn of the spinal cord or cranial nerves motor nuclei; whereas a lower motor neuron lesion affects the nerve fibers that travel from the anterior horn of the spinal cord to the associated muscle.
1. What Are Upper and Lower Motor Neurons?
Upper motor neurons are found in the cerebral cortex and brainstem carrying information down for the activation of interneurons and the lower motor neurons.
Lower motor neurons begin in the spinal cord and terminate in the skeletal muscle.
Both upper and lower motor neurons together make up the somatic nervous system which controls the voluntary muscular movements.
2. What is the Difference Between Upper Motor Neuron and Lower Motor Neuron?
The upper motor neuron is found in the cerebral cortex and also brainstem. It carries information down for activating interneurons and lower motor neurons, which directly signal muscles to relax or contract. The spinal cord is the region for communication between the upper motor neuron and the lower motor neuron. Any lesion above the spinal cord will result in UMN syndrome and at this point and below are associated with LMN.