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Anatomy Atlases: Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 1 - Cells Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 17 - Central Nervous System

Plate 17.341 Mesencephalon-Diencephalon Junction

Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., Adel K. Afifi, M.D., Paul M. Heidger, Jr., Ph.D.
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed


Plate 17.341 Mesencephalon-Diencephalon Junction

Human, 10% formalin, Pal-Welgert, 2.3 x.


Pulvinar: Belongs to the lateral group of thalamic nuclei. Has reciprocal connections with the medial and lateral geniculate bodies caudally and the association parietal, temporal, and occipital cortices rostrally. Plays a role in several neural functions, including vision, audition, speech, and pain.

Lateral geniculate body: A thalamic relay nucleus concerned with vision. Receives fibers from the optic tract and projects to the primary visual cortex.

Substantia nigra: A mass of pigmented cells containing melanin located dorsal to the cerebral peduncle. This area is invariably the site of pathologic changes associated with Parkinson's disease.

Cerebral peduncle: Descending corticofugal fiber system. Lesion results in contralateral muscle weakness or paralysis.

Oculomotor (CN III) nerve: Coursing in the tegmentum of the midbrain medial to the substantia nigra and cerebral peduncle.

Red nucleus: So-called because of a pinkish color in the fresh state owing to its high vascularity. Links the cerebellum, cerebral cortex, and spinal cord.

Medial geniculate body: A thalamic relay nucleus concerned with audition. Receives fibers from brachium of the inferior colliculus and projects to the primary auditory cortex.

Brachium of superior colliculus: Fiber bundle connecting the superior colliculus and the lateral geniculate nucleus.

Pretectal nucleus: Rostral extension of the superior colliculus. Receives optic tract fibers and projects bilaterally to oculornotor nuclei. Important relay in pupillary light reflex.

Pineal gland: Located dorsal to the mesencephalon. Part of the epithalamus. Has endocrine function and is an important landmark radiologically.  

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