Corpora quadrigemina

Last revised by Dr Zander Hendrik Engelbrecht on 09 Mar 2022

The corpora quadrigemina (Latin for "quadruplet bodies", singular: corpus quadrigeminum) are the four colliculi, two inferior and two superior, that sit on the quadrigeminal plate on the posterior surface of the midbrain.

The corpora quadrigemina are reflex centers involving vision and hearing:

  • superior colliculi: involved in general light reflex movements of the eyes as well as head, body and limbs in response to light stimulus 
    • Recieves input from retina and output via tectobulbar and tectospinal tracts to motor nuclei of cranial and spinal nerves 
  • inferior colliculi: involved in auditory processing and reflex movements of eyes, head, body and limbs in response to sound stimuli; they receive input from various brainstem nuclei and project to the medial geniculate nucleus of the thalamus, which relays auditory information to the primary auditory cortex

Both colliculi also have descending projections to the paramedian pontine reticular formation and spinal cord, and thus can be involved in responses to stimuli faster than cortical processing would allow.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1a: labeled 30 (inferior) and 51 (superior)
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  • Case 1b: labeled 40
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  • Case 2: labeled in pink (inferior)
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  • Figure 1: Gray's anatomy illustration
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  • Figure 2: midbrain (axial)
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  • Figure 3: midbrain (axial)
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  • Figure 4: brainstem dissection (posterior view)
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  • Figure 5: brainstem - Gray's anatomy illustrations
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  • Figure 6: brainstem: dorsal - Gray's anatomy illustration
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  • Figure 7: brain (sagittal section)
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  • Figure 8: interconnection of cranial nerve nuclei (Gray's illustration)
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