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Subthalamic nucleus

Recommended video: Basal ganglia [22:07]
Main nuclei of the basal ganglia and surrounding structures (20 structures).

The subthalamic nucleus is a lens-shaped structure located in the most caudal part of the diencephalon close to its junction with the midbrain. It is also known as the nucleus or corpus of Luys. It is located medially to the internal capsule, dorsally to the substantia nigra and ventrally to the thalamus. Previously, the term "subthalamus" referred to the subthalamic nucleus as a distinct area within the diencephalon. 

The majority of the neurons arising from the subthalamic nucleus are excitatory glutaminergic neurons and project to the internal globus pallidus via the subthalamic fasciculus. It receives neuronal input from the external globus pallidus, which contains mostly inhibitory GABAergic neurons. It is also connected to the reticular part of the substantia nigra, the striatum, the cerebral cortex, the pedunculopontine nucleus and the mesencephalic and pontine reticular formation.

Functionally, it is a crucial part of the basal ganglia and thus participates in the control of motor activity. Specifically, it is thought to play a role in activities such as motor integration and body movement accuracy. It also plays a role in suppressing uncontrollable jerky movements.

Terminology English: Subthalamic nucleus
Synonyms: Corpus of Luys, Nucleus of Luys, Body of Forel, Body of Luys

: Nucleus subthalamicus
Synonyms: Corpus Luysii, Corpus hypothalamicum, Corpus subthalamicum
Location The subthalamic nucleus is located medially to the internal capsule, dorsally to the substantia nigra and ventrally to the thalamus.
Function Part of the basal ganglia. Controls motor activity and suppresses unwanted movements.

Learn more about the different components and function of the basal ganglia in the following study unit:

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