thalamus consists of a large collection of relatively distinct
subdivisions or cellular clusters, or nuclei, all aggregated
deep within the diencephalon. The thalamus contains nuclei that
receive sensory input from spinal and brainstem circuits. It
processes information from visual, auditory, somatic sensory,
taste, pain and thermal modalities. The thalamus makes numerous
interconnections with different areas of the neocortex as well
as with other nuclei of the telencephalon. It receives most
of its downstream inputs from a variety of neuronal clusters
lying in the medulla and brainstem. The thalamus relays and
translates streams of impulses arriving from all its inputs
and regulates and transmits processed information to different
layers of the cerebral cortex.
The thalamus lies above the hypothalamus with which it makes
some connections. The thalamus is symmetrically mirrored on
the two sides of the brain and the two thalamic groupings abut
along the midline. Some thalamic nuclei may interconnect between
homologous nuclei on the two sides
Below we display coronal sections stained for cell bodies. These
cross sections are arranged from front (rostral) to back (caudal).
The sequentially arranged sections are to viewed as one does
in reading lines of text in a book.
many different named nuclear formations of the thalamus are
listed below according to terminology used by Alvin Berman and
Jerzy E. Rose.
Anterior paraventricular n.
Nuclei of inferior thalamic peduncle
n., principal part
basal n. ext.
basal n. med. (arcuate)
nucleus of Rioch
of brachium of inf. col.