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J Neurosurg Spine. 2005 Aug;3(2):149-52.

The filum terminale externum.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alabama, USA.



The filum terminale externum (FTE) is the extradural component of the filum terminale internum and little attention has been dedicated to this structure in the literature. The authors theorized that the rare intrasacral ependymomas may originate from ependymal cell collections within the FTE.


To address this hypothesis, the FTE was dissected and analyzed histologically in 15 adult cadavers. None of the specimens was found to harbor ependymal or other glial cell collections.


The authors found previously undescribed smooth-muscle cells within the FTE. Furthermore, histological analysis identified adipose, nerve, bone, and cartilage cells.

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