Dr Jeremy Jones et al.

The thalamus (plural: thalami) is a paired and symmetrical structure in the brain, and the main part of the diencephalon. It is the pathway through which signals are sent from the cerebrum to the midbrain (brainstem) via the cerebral peduncles and vice versa.

The thalamus is an egg-shaped structure and made of at least 50 thalamic nuclei. It is in the dorsal portion of the diencephalon.

The thalamus has many functions including:

  • translator of prethalamic inputs into readable form
  • process and relay of sensory information selectively to various parts of the cerebral cortex
  • regulation of sleep and wakefulness
  • thalamo-cortico-thalamic circuits involved in consciousness
  • arousal, the level of awareness, and activity

Blood supply

Blood supply for the thalamus comes from a number of arteries including polar and paramedian arteries, inferolateral (thalamogeniculate) arteries, and posterior (medial and lateral) choroidal arteries. These are all branches of the posterior cerebral artery.

Related pathology

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Article information

rID: 5832
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Thalami
  • Thalamic nuclei

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Cases and figures

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    Figure 1: coronal brain in front of pons
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    Figure 2: brainstem nuclei and their connections
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    Figure 3: basal ganglia location
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    Figure 4: brain dissection (coronal brainstem section)
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