Original Editor - Kate Sampson
The Rubrospinal tract is a descending pathway which originates in the Red Nucleus and descends to the spinal cord.
- The Red Nucleus of the midbrain tegmentum
Course / Path
- Fibres pass ventromedially and cross the ventral tegmental decussation 
- Fibres descend to the spinal cord where they lie ventrolateral to and intertwined with the corticospinal tract 
- As the Rubrospinal tract receives afferent fibres from the motor cortex and cerebellum it acts as a non pyramidal route of influencing spinal cord activity through inter and motor neurones 
- Excitation of the motor neurons controlling tone of limb flexor muscles and inhibitory to extension during of gait
- Facilitatory of flexion and inhibitory to extension in cervical and lumbar spine and distal extremity muscles
- Neural activity in the red nucleus is related to force, velocity and direction of movement
Within the literature, selective lesions have not been reported of solely the red nucleus or rubrospinal tract. Lesions within the region of the red nucleus can result in movement disorders and tremor, but these effects may be more associated with damage to fibers which are associated with the cerebellar and basal ganglia systems.
In primate studies, it has been suggested that the rubrospinal tract is responsible for fractionation of movement.. Fractionation is the ability to isolate movement to one joint independent of another. Therefore, it could be hypothesised that if the rubrospinal tract was affected, this could have an impact on the fine tuning and fractionation of movement.
However, even though it has been shown within animal studies that the rubrospinal tract can assist with functional recovery, it is unclear as to how this can be generalised to humans.
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