One method of cell organization is the nuclei, which is a cluster of neurons, or nerve cells, closely located to each other. It appears as gray matter, often surrounded by white matter. The dorsal column nuclei are located in the brain stem. One of the primary dorsal column nuclei of the brain stem forms a structure known as the cuneate tubercle.
As a general term in anatomy, tubercle refers to a small outgrowth or round nodule found within or on the body or in an organ. When the brain stem is viewed from below, it appears to have a series of bumps on its surface. These bumps (tubercles) contain nuclei. The cuneate tubercle contains the cuneate nucleus, which is shaped like a wedge.
The cuneate tubercle and nucleus are components of the dorsal column medial-lemniscus system. This system transfers sensory information regarding vibration, fine touch, and proprioceptive information from the upper body to the brain. Proprioceptive information describes internal knowledge of how the body is moving and where the body parts are in relation to the other body parts. The neurons within the cuneate tubercle relay these kinds of sensory information from areas above the sixth thoracic vertebrae, excluding the face and ear.