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Abstract

The present study is a quantitative analysis of the unmyelinated fiber population in the fasciculus gracilis of the second cervical segment of cat and monkey. We find that unmyelinated fibers represent 13.7% of the total fiber population in this pathway in the cat and 18.9% in the monkey (Macaca fascicularis). The existence of such large numbers of these axons suggests that there may be a sizeable ascending fine primary afferent pathway in the fasciculus gracilis in cat and monkey whose destination is presumably the dorsal column nuclei. These findings are of interest in regard to classic ideas that the afferent fibers in the dorsal columns are large myelinated fibers that convey fine discriminative information to the dorsal column nuclei.