Connection lost. Please refresh the page.
Get help How to study Login Register

Thalamic nuclei

Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will be able to:

  1. Understand the internal structure of the thalamus.
  2. Identify each group of thalamic nuclei.
  3. Name the nuclei of the thalamus, their specific locations, and their functions.

Watch video

A nucleus refers to a collection of nerve cell bodies (gray matter) in the central nervous system. The thalamus mostly consists of gray matter divided into several groups of thalamic nuclei. A Y-shaped mass of white matter (internal medullary lamina) divides the substance of the thalamus into three primary groups of nuclei: anterior, medial and lateral. In addition, the thalamus also contains intralaminar, periventricular (midline), posterior and geniculate nuclei.

The thalamic nuclei have many important functions, some of which are the integration of sensory information and the regulation of motor activity and consciousness.

The following video will provide you with an overview of the internal structure of the thalamus and a detailed description of its nuclei.

Take a quiz

Now that you have watched the videos about the thalamus, solidify your knowledge by taking our quiz.

How much do you already know about subcortical structures? Take our fully customizable quiz to rate your knowledge and have fun learning!

Browse atlas

Take a closer look at the thalamic nuclei in the gallery below. 


Key facts about the thalamic nuclei
Types of nuclei Relay nuclei, association nuclei, non-specific nuclei
Groups of nuclei Anterior nuclei of thalamus
Lateral nuclei of thalamus
Medial nuclei of thalamus
Intralaminar nuclei of thalamus
Periventricular (midline) thalamic nuclei
Reticular nucleus of thalamus
Anterior nuclei of thalamus Anteroventral, anterodorsal, anteromedial, lateroal dorsal nuclei
Lateral nuclei of thalamus Ventral group (ventral anterior, ventral lateral, ventrobasal (ventral posteromedial, ventral posterolateral))
Dorsal (posterior) group (lateral posterior, pulvinar)
Medial and lateral geniculate nuclei
Medial nuclei of thalamus Mediodorsal nucleus (parvocellular, magnocellular, paralaminar parts)
Intralaminar nuclei of thalamus Anterior group: Central medial, paracentral, central lateral nuclei
Central group: Centromedian, parafascicular, subparafascicular nuclei
Posterior group: Limitans, suprageniculate nucleui
Periventricular (midline) nuclei Paraventricular, parataenial, medioventral (reuniens)
Functions Relaying limbic, sensory and motor signals to the cerebral cortex;
Regulating consciousness, sleep, alertness

Well done!

Related articles

Continue your learning

Register now and grab your free ultimate anatomy study guide!