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Orbitofrontal cortex

Recommended video: Basal view of the brain [29:12]
Structures seen from a basal view of the brain with the brainstem removed, showing the cut surface of the mesencephalon.

The orbitofrontal cortex refers to the ventral aspect of the frontal lobe that sits in the anterior cranial fossa, overlying the roof of the bony orbit. It forms part of the prefrontal cortex of the frontal lobe and includes Brodmann areas 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14. Unlike other areas of the prefrontal cortex, the orbitofrontal cortex receives projections specifically from the magnocellular medial nucleus of the mediodorsal thalamus.

The orbitofrontal cortex is closely related to the olfactory bulb and tract. These structures run along the olfactory sulcus, which separates the straight gyrus from the medial orbital gyrus of the orbitofrontal cortex.

The orbitofrontal cortex is an important region of the brain involved in the processing of rewards and punishments. It receives and integrates inputs from all the sensory modalities: taste, smell, somatosensory, auditory and visual, as well as visceral sensory and visceral motor information. 

The orbitofrontal cortex functions as part of varying brain networks. It has direct reciprocal connections to regions of the temporal lobe such as the amygdala, entorhinal cortex, hippocampus and other cortical regions including the cingulate cortex, caudate nucleus, hypothalamus and ventral tegmental area. The orbitofrontal cortex, therefore, plays an important role in modulating motivational, emotional and social behavior.

The blood supply of the orbitofrontal cortex is by the anterior and middle cerebral arteries which are branches of the internal carotid artery.

Terminology English: Orbitofrontal cortex
Latin: Cortex orbitofrontalis
Definition Ventral surface of the frontal lobe of the brain
Function Mediation of motivational, emotional and social behavior
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Learn more about the features of the orbitofrontal cortex and and other structures on the basal aspect of the brain in the following study unit:

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