This study unit will help you to:
- Understand the internal structure of the thalamus.
- Identify each group of thalamic nuclei.
- Name the nuclei of the thalamus, their specific locations, and their functions.
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. The Y-shaped mass of white matter (internal medullary lamina) divides the substance of the thalamus into three large groups of nuclei: anterior, medial and lateral nuclei. In addition, the thalamus also contains intralaminar, periventricular (midline) and reticular 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.
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Take a closer look at the thalamic nuclei in the gallery below.
|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