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Hippocampus, fornix and amygdaloid body

Learning objectives

This study unit will help you to:

  1. Learn the gross anatomy of the hippocampus, fornix and amygdaloid body.
  2. Name the parts, relations and functions of each structure.
  3. Understand the connections of those parts of the brain and the role that they play in the limbic system.

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The hippocampus, fornix and amygdaloid body are paired subcortical structures located in the temporal lobe of both cerebral hemispheres. Along with several other structures, the hippocampus, fornix and amygdaloid body comprise the system of the brain which plays a pivotal role in behavioral control, called the limbic system.

The hippocampus is part of a larger structure called hippocampal formation. In addition to the hippocampus (hippocampus proper), the hippocampal formation also contains the dentate gyrus, subicular complex, and entorhinal cortex. The hippocampus is located in the temporal lobe and it is best known for its role in memory processing.

The amygdaloid body (also known as amygdala or amygdaloid complex) refers to the almond-shaped group of nuclei found adjacent to the hippocampus. It is comprised of three groups of nuclei (basolateral, corticomedial, centromedial) that have different neural connections and functions. The amygdala is considered to be an integrative center for emotions, emotional behavior, and motivation.

The fornix is a fiber bundle that extends from the posterior portion of the hippocampus to the mamillary body. It consists of several parts including columns, body, crura, alveus and fimbriae.

This video tutorial will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the hippocampus and fornix.

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Browse atlas

Now you can observe each structure in more detail with our image galleries:

Summary

Key points about the hippocampus, fornix and amygdaloid body
Hippocampal formation Definition: Prominent C-shaped structure embedded deep in the temporal lobe of both cerebral hemispheres
Structure
: Hippocampus proper, dentate gyrus, subicular complex, entorhinal cortex
Function
: Learning and memory
Fornix Definition: C-shaped bundle of nerve fibers extending from the hippocampus to the mammillary bodies and anterior nuclei of thalamus
Structure
: Columns, body, crura, alveus and fimbriae
Function
: Formation of important subcortical connections: hippocampus to mammillary bodies, mammillary bodies to the anterior nuclei of thalamus, and hippocampus to septal nuclei and nuclei accumbens
Amygdaloid body Definition: Almond-shaped group of nuclei located in the temporal lobe of each cerebral hemisphere
Structure
: 3 groups of nuclei (basolateral, corticomedial, centromedial)
Function
: Response to stress, feeding and drinking behaviour, respiratory and cardiovascular functions

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