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The interthalamic adhesion, or massa intermedia, is a small variably present connection between the medial apposing surfaces of the two thalami that passes through the third ventricle. It is not a commissure as once thought, as it does not contain neurons; instead, it is composed of glial tissue. Its functional significance is currently unknown 5.
If a cast is made of the ventricular system when the adhesion is present, it will create a hole (fenestration or window) in the center of the third ventricle.
The reported presence of the adhesion varies in the literature, ranging from 75% 4 to 96% 5. It has been reported to be more commonly present in females than males. Interestingly Damle et al. found that when present, the adhesion is larger in females and this correlates with increased attention 5.
It is larger in patients with Chiari II malformations 3.
It is suggested aberrations of the massa intermedia are associated with 6:
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- 5. Damle N, Ikuta T, John M et al. Relationship Among Interthalamic Adhesion Size, Thalamic Anatomy and Neuropsychological Functions in Healthy Volunteers. Brain Struct Funct. 2017;222(5):2183-92. doi:10.1007/s00429-016-1334-6 - Pubmed
- 6. Whitehead M & Najim N. Thalamic Massa Intermedia in Children with and Without Midline Brain Malformations. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2020;41(4):729-35. doi:10.3174/ajnr.A6446 - Pubmed