Plate 17.341 Mesencephalon-Diencephalon Junction
Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., Adel K. Afifi, M.D., Paul M. Heidger,
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed
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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