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Thalamus

Topic updated on 04/29/17 6:37pm

Overview
 

 
Introduction
  • Function
    • serves as a major sensory relay center which will ultimately reach the neocortex
    • central nervous system structures involved in motor movement can also synapse in the thalamus
      • these structures include
        • cerebellum
        • basal ganglia
  • Anatomy
Select Thalamic Nuclei
Nuclei Circuitry
Anterior nuclear group
  • Input
    • mamillary body (via the mammillothalamic tract)
  • Output
    • cingulate gyrus (part of Papez circuit)
Medial nuclear group
  • Input
    • amygdala
    • prefrontal cortex
    • temporal lobe
  • Output
    • prefrontal cortex
    • cingulate gyrus
  • Nuclei example
    • dorsomedial nucleus
      • thiamine deficiency can result in degeneration of this thalamic nuclei
Ventral posterolateral (VPL) nucleus
  • Input
    • sensory information from the dorsal columns and spinothalamic tract
      • dorsal columns
        • pressure
        • vibration
        • proprioception
        • fine touch
      • spinothalamic
        • pain and temperature
        • crude touch
  • Output
    • primary somatosensory cortex
Ventral posteromedial (VPM) nucleus
  • Input
    • sensory information of trigeminal and gustatory afferents (in other words, the face)
  • Output
    • primary somatosensory cortex
Ventral lateral (VL) nucleus
  • Input
    • globus pallidus
    • cerebellar dendate nucleus
  • Output
    • primary motor cortex
Medial geniculate body
  • Input
    • inferior colliculus (in other words, hearing)
  • Output
    • auditory cortex
Lateral geniculate body
  • Input
    • optic nerve (cranial nerve II)
  • Output
    • primary visual cortex
  • Clinical correlate
    • thalamic pain syndrome
      • patients can present with a burning sensation and allodynia
      • this is secondary to
        • a stroke affecting the thalamus
    • Wernicke encephalopathy
      • a neurologic emergency secondary to thiamine deficiency which affects the
        • mamillary bodies (in almost all cases)
        • dorsomedial thalamus


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