plexus n : a network of intersecting blood vessels or intersecting nerves or intersecting lymph vessels [syn: rete]
EtymologyLatin, from plex-, past participle stem of plectere ‘plait, interweave’.
Nounplexus (plural plexus or plexuses)
A plexus is a network. It has more specific meanings in multiple fields.
BiologyIn biology it has multiple meanings.
Nervous systemIn many animals the processes of neurons join together to form a plexus or nerve net.
In vertebratesIn vertebrates, a plexus is an area where nerves branch and rejoin, for example the brachial plexus made up of the spinal nerves which enter the arm and the solar plexus above the stomach.
Almost a hundred such plexuses have been named in the human body, but the four primary nerve plexuses are the cervical plexus, brachial plexus, lumbar plexus, and the sacral plexus.
In invertebratesPlexuses is the characteristic form of nervous system in the coelenterates and persists with modifications in the flatworms. The nerves of the radially symmetric echinoderms also take this form, where a plexus underlies the ectoderm of these animals and deeper in the body other nerve cells form plexuses of limited extent.
Circulatory systemA plexus is also a network of blood vessels, with the choroid plexuses of the brain being the most commonly mentioned example. Choroid plexuses are very thin and vascular roof plates of the most anterior and most posterior cavities of the brain which expand into the interiors of the cavities. Other vascular plexuses are found elsewhere in the body.
plexus in German: Plexus (Medizin)
plexus in Spanish: Plexo
plexus in French: Plexus
plexus in Portuguese: Plexo
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