The Human Nervous System

The Human Nervous System

3rd Edition - November 14, 2011

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  • Editors: Juergen Mai, George Paxinos
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080921303

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The previous two editions of the Human Nervous System have been the standard reference for the anatomy of the central and peripheral nervous system of the human. The work has attracted nearly 2,000 citations, demonstrating that it has a major influence in the field of neuroscience. The 3e is a complete and updated revision, with new chapters covering genes and anatomy, gene expression studies, and glia cells. The book continues to be an excellent companion to the Atlas of the Human Brain, and a common nomenclature throughout the book is enforced. Physiological data, functional concepts, and correlates to the neuroanatomy of the major model systems (rat and mouse) as well as brain function round out the new edition.

Key Features

  • Adopts standard nomenclature following the new scheme by Paxinos, Watson, and Puelles and aligned with the Mai et al. Atlas of the Human Brain (new edition in 2007)
  • Full color throughout with many new and significantly enhanced illustrations
  • Provides essential reference information for users in conjunction with brain atlases for the identification of brain structures, the connectivity between different areas, and to evaluate data collected in anatomical, physiological, pharmacological, behavioral, and imaging studies


Neuroscientists, neurologists, and neuropsychologists working on brain anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, behavior, or neurological disease

Table of Contents

  • Dedication




    I. Evolution and development

    Chapter 1. Brain Evolution

    The Human Brain as an Outlier

    The Human Brain in Numbers

    Cerebral Cortex and Connectivity

    Concerted Expansion of Cerebral Cortex and Cerebellum

    Human Brain Evolution: Comparison with Great Apes

    Hominin Evolution: Estimates of Numbers of Brain Neurons in Prehistoric Homo

    Human Brain Metabolism Revisited

    Conclusion: Remarkable, Yet not Extraordinary

    Chapter 2. Development of the Peripheral Nervous System

    Cranial Nerves

    Somatic Peripheral Nervous System

    Autonomic and Enteric Nervous System

    Chapter 3. Fetal Development of the Central Nervous System

    Cerebral Cortex

    Deep Telencephalic Nuclei



    Cerebellum and Pre-Cerebellar Nuclei

    Pons and Medulla

    Spinal Cord

    II. Peripheral nervous system and spinal cord

    Chapter 4. Peripheral Nervous System Topics




    Dorsal Root Ganglion and the Pseudo-Unipolar Neurons

    Schwann Cells, Satellite Cells, and Mast Cells

    Nerve Fibers


    Proprioception and Endplates

    Peripheral Nervous System Engineering

    Chapter 5. Peripheral Autonomic Pathways

    General Organization of Autonomic Pathways

    Cranial Autonomic Pathways

    Sympathetic Pathways

    Pelvic Autonomic Pathways

    Enteric Plexuses

    Adrenal Medulla and Paraganglia

    Concluding Remarks


    Chapter 6. Spinal Cord: Regional Anatomy, Cytoarchitecture and Chemoarchitecture

    Cytoarchitecture of the Human Spinal Cord

    Chemoarchitecture of the Human Spinal Cord


    Chapter 7. Spinal Cord: Connections

    Primary Afferent Projections to the Spinal Cord

    Propriospinal Pathways

    Ascending Spinal Projections

    Descending Spinal Projections

    Descending Brainstem Projections

    Projections from the Retroambiguus Nucleus to the Spinal Cord

    Hypothalamic and Diencephalic Projections to the Spinal Cord

    Coeruleospinal and Raphespinal Tracts

    Other Descending Projections from the Trigeminal and Dorsal Column Nuclei

    Cerebellospinal Projections


    III. Brainstem and cerebellum

    Chapter 8. Organization of Brainstem Nuclei

    Abbreviations Used in the Figures

    Autonomic Regulatory Centers

    Reticular Formation

    Tegmental Nuclei

    Locus Coeruleus

    Raphe Nuclei

    Ventral Mesencephalic Tegmentum and Substantia Nigra

    Cranial Motor Nuclei

    Somatosensory System

    Vestibular Nuclei

    Auditory System

    Visual System

    Precerebellar Nuclei and Red Nucleus



    Chapter 9. Reticular Formation


    Eye and Head Movements

    Eyelid and Blink

    Chapter 10. Periaqueductal Gray

    External Boundaries of the PAG

    Internal Boundaries of the PAG

    Chemoarchitecture of the Primate PAG

    Connectivity of the Primate PAG

    Functional Aspects


    Chapter 11. Raphe Nuclei

    Divisions of the Raphe Nuclei


    Functional Considerations


    Chapter 12. Locus Coeruleus


    Development and Topographical Organization

    Morphology and Neurochemistry of LC Neurons

    Functional Connectivity

    Physiology and Behavior

    LC Involvement in the Pathophysiology of Age-Related Neurologic Disease


    Chapter 13. Substantia Nigra, Ventral Tegmental Area, and Retrorubral Fields


    Substantia Nigra

    Ventral Tegmental Area

    Retrorubral Fields

    Functional Connections


    Chapter 14. Brainstem Cholinergic Systems


    Cholinergic Neurons of the Brainstem Reticular Formation

    Cytochemical Signatures

    Axonal Targets

    Postsynaptic Effects

    Functional Affiliations

    Summary and Conclusions


    Anatomical Abbreviations

    Chapter 15. Cerebellum and Precerebellar Nuclei


    External Form and Subdivision of the Human Cerebellum

    The Cerebellar Cortex

    The Cerebellar Nuclei

    The Cerebellar Peduncles

    The Corticonuclear Projection

    The Inferior Olive and the Olivocerebellar Projection

    Zonal Organization of the Primate Cerebellar Cortex

    Brainstem and Thalamo-Cortical Projections of the Cerebellar Nuclei Recurrent Cerebello-Olivary Loops

    The Distribution of Mossy Fiber Systems

    The Skeletomotor Cerebellum

    The Oculomotor Cerebellum

    Non-Motor Functions of the Cerebellum

    Phylogenetic and Functional Subdivisions of the Cerebellum and their Somatotopical Organization

    IV. Diencephalon, basal ganglia, basal forebrain and amygdala

    Chapter 16. Hypothalamus

    Cytoarchitecture of the Human Hypothalamus

    Fiber Connections of the Hypothalamus

    Functional Organization of the Hypothalamus

    Chapter 17. Hypophysis


    Anatomy of the Hypophysis

    Imaging of the Hypophysis



    Chapter 18. Circumventricular Organs

    General Characteristics of Circumventricular Organs

    Subfornical Organ

    Vascular Organ of the Lamina Terminalis (OVLT)

    Median Eminence and Neurohypophysis

    Pineal Gland

    The Subcommissural Organ

    Area Postrema

    Choroid Plexus

    Chapter 19. Thalamus


    Superior Region

    Medial Region

    Lateral Region

    Intralaminar Formation

    Periventricular Formation

    Posterior Region

    Dedication and Acknowledgments

    Chapter 20. The Basal Ganglia


    Topography, Cytoarchitecture, and Basic Circuitry

    Functional Basal Ganglia Connections

    Functional Considerations


    Chapter 21. Sex Differences in the Forebrain


    Sex Hormone Receptors

    Nucleus Basalis of Meynert (NBM) and Diagonal Band of Broca (DB)

    Islands of Calleja (Insulae Terminalis)

    Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN)

    Sexually Dimorphic Nucleus of the Preoptic Area (SDN-POA)

    Interstitial Nucleus of Anterior Hypothalamus INAH-3 and INAH-4, or Uncinate Nucleus

    Anterior Commissure and Interthalamic Adhesion or Massa Intermedia

    Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis (BST)

    Supraoptic and Paraventricular Nucleus (SON, PVN)

    The Ventromedial Nucleus (VMH; Nucleus of Cajal)

    Infundibular Nucleus (Arcuate Nucleus), Subventricular Nucleus, and Median Eminence

    Tuberomamilary Nucleus (TMN)

    Corpora Mamillaria



    Abbreviations used in the Figures

    Chapter 22. Amygdala

    Definition of the Amygdala and Overview of Terminology


    Anatomical Divisions


    Abbreviations (including Figures and Tables)

    V. Cortex

    Chapter 23. Architecture of the Cerebral Cortex

    Principal Subdivisions of the Cerebral Cortex

    Quantitative Aspects of the Cerebral Cortex and Gender Differences

    Asymmetries in the Cerebral Cortex




    Cortical Maps of the Human Brain: Past, Present, Future

    Chapter 24. Hippocampal Formation

    Gross Anatomical Features

    Cytoarchitectonic Organization of the Hippocampal Formation

    Hippocampal Connectivity

    A Note on the Development of the Human Hippocampal Formation

    Clinical Anatomy

    Functional Considerations


    Chapter 25. Cingulate Cortex


    The Four-Region Neurobiological Model: Circuitry

    Anterior Cingulate Cortex: Autonomic Regulation and Emotion

    Midcingulate Cortex

    Posterior Cingulate Cortex; Dorsal and Ventral Subregions

    Retrosplenial Cortex Functions

    Limbic Functions of Cingulate Subregions

    Medial Surface Features

    Flat Maps of Primate Medial Cortex

    Cytology of Anterior Cingulate Cortex

    Cytology of Midcingulate Cortex

    Ectocallosal, Ectosplenial, and Retrosplenial Cortices

    Posterior Cingulate Cortex

    Caudomedial Subregion

    The Cingulate Dysgranular Belt

    Overview of Receptor Binding by Region and Layer

    Some Comparative Features of Human and Monkey

    Anterior Cingulate Cortex

    Midcingulate Cortex

    Retrosplenial Cortex

    Posterior Cingulate Cortex

    Is all Cortex in the Monkey Cingulate Sulcus Cingulate Cortex?

    Perspectives on Human Imaging of Cingulate Cortex Structure and Functions


    Chapter 26. The Frontal Cortex

    Sulcal and Gyral Morphology of the Frontal Cortex

    Architectonic Organization

    Corticocortical Connection Patterns


    Chapter 27. Motor Cortex


    Macaque Motor Cortex

    Human Motor Cortex

    Concluding Remarks

    Chapter 28. Posterior Parietal Cortex

    Macroanatomy of Posterior Parietal Cortex

    Architectonical Organization

    Functional Segregation

    Connectivity Pattern



    VI. Systems

    Chapter 29. Lower Brainstem Regulation of Visceral, Cardiovascular, and Respiratory Function


    Classification of Brainstem Neuronal Groups

    Cardiovascular Function

    Respiratory Function

    Salivation, Swallowing and Gastrointestinal Function, Nausea, and Vomiting

    Lower Brainstem Regulation of Pituitary Vasopressin and ACTH Secretion

    Lower Brainstem Regulation of Pelvic Viscera

    Involvement of Putative Brainstem Autonomic and Respiratory Neurons in Human Neurodegenerative Disease


    Chapter 30. Somatosensory System


    Receptor Types and Afferent Pathways

    Relay Nuclei of the Medulla and Upper Spinal Cord

    Somatosensory Regions of the Midbrain

    Somatosensory Thalamus

    Anterior Parietal Cortex

    Somatosensory Cortex of the Lateral (Sylvian) Sulcus Including Insula

    Posterior Parietal Cortex

    Somatosensory Cortex of the Medial Wall: The Supplementary Sensory Area and Cingulate Cortex

    Chapter 31. Trigeminal Sensory System


    Receptors and their Innervation

    Trigeminal Nerves, Ganglion, and Root

    Brainstem Trigeminal Sensory Nuclei

    Pain Perception in the Trigeminal Pathway

    Thalamic Sites for Trigeminal Somatic Sensations

    Cranial Somatosensory Cortex

    Plasticity of Trigeminal Responses

    Chapter 32. Pain System


    Pain Transmission Neurons and Pathways

    Descending Pain Modulatory Systems

    Brain Structures Involved in Pain Perception and Integration

    Summary and Conclusions

    Chapter 33. Gustatory System


    Gustatory Apparatus and Peripheral Innervation

    The Central Nervous System

    Further Gustatory Processing



    Chapter 34. The Olfactory System


    The Olfactory System

    Olfactory Mucosa

    The Vomeronasal Organ

    Olfactory Bulb

    Primary Olfactory Cortex

    Piriform Cortex

    Accessory Olfactory Cortical Areas

    Olfactory Projections Beyond the Primary Olfactory Cortex

    Human Imaging of Olfactory Sensory Activity

    Chapter 35. The Vestibular System


    Regional Anatomy of the Vestibular System

    Systems Anatomy


    Chapter 36. Auditory System

    Sensory Organ and Cochlear Nerve


    Auditory Cortex

    Connectional Structure of the Auditory System

    Structural Asymmetry and Functional Lateralization

    The Concept of Wernicke’s Region

    Chapter 37. Visual System

    Central Visual Pathway

    Primary Visual Cortex

    Extrastriate Cortex


    Chapter 38. The Emotional Systems

    Emotions Defined, and an Anatomical Framework

    The Orbitofrontal Cortex

    The Amygdala

    The Pregenual Cingulate Cortex

    Beyond the Orbitofrontal Cortex to Choice Decision-Making


    Chapter 39. Cerebral Vascular System


    Anatomy of Cerebral Blood Vessels

    Anatomy of Spinal Cord Blood Vessels

    Vascular Innervation

    Mapping Cerebral Function with Blood Flow

    Global Responses of the Cerebral Circulation


Product details

  • No. of pages: 1428
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2011
  • Published: November 14, 2011
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080921303

About the Editors

Juergen Mai

Jürgen Konrad Mai studied medicine in Freiburg, Germany, Vienna and UT Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, U.S.A. Student and Medical practices in Freiburg (Clinic for Neurosurgery), Berlin and Düsseldorf. Dissertation ("summa cum laude") and habilitation were awarded by the University of Düsseldorf: After a period as GP in private practice (Titisee-Neustadt) he became scientific assistant and senior assistant at the C. and O. Vogt-Institute for Brain Research, University of Düsseldorf (1972 - 1983) and 1983 Professor of Neuroanatomy at the Institute of Neuroanatomy, H.-Heine-University of Düsseldorf. He served as director of the Department of the Institute of Anatomy 1 until retirement in 2011.

The main research interests are (i) the structural and molecular anatomy of the mammalian brain, especially of the human brain and (ii) expression patterns and regulation of terminal carbohydrates in development, cell activation and disease (III) operation planning in stereotactic neurosurgery. He works on a "Digital Brain Atlas for Planning and Interindividual Registration of Targets in Deep Brain Stimulation" and on a "Spatial Information Management Resource for the Human Brain". J. K. Mai has edited the catalogue of human brain sections from the Vogt collection; he is author and editor of several books, e.g. the awarded "Atlas of the Human Brain" with CD-ROM (Academic Press/Elsevier, San Diego), "The Human Nervous System" (Academic Press/Elsevier, San Diego, Amsterdam, 3rd ed. 2012), Funktionelle Anatomie für Zahnmediziner (Quintessenz, Berlin, 2nd. ed. 2008; Sensi Divini (ital., engl., ger, russ. eds). J. K. Mai is CEO of MR-X-Brain GmbH.

Affiliations and Expertise

Institute of Anatomy I, Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf, Germany

George Paxinos

George Paxinos
Professor George Paxinos, AO (BA, MA, PhD, DSc) completed his BA at The University of California at Berkeley, his PhD at McGill University, and spent a postdoctoral year at Yale University. He is the author of almost 50 books on the structure of the brain of humans and experimental animals, including The Rat Brain in Stereotaxic Coordinates, now in its 7th Edition, which is ranked by Thomson ISI as one of the 50 most cited items in the Web of Science. Dr. Paxinos paved the way for future neuroscience research by being the first to produce a three-dimensional (stereotaxic) framework for placement of electrodes and injections in the brain of experimental animals, which is now used as an international standard. He was a member of the first International Consortium for Brain Mapping, a UCLA based consortium that received the top ranking and was funded by the NIMH led Human Brain Project. Dr. Paxinos has been honored with more than nine distinguished awards throughout his years of research, including: The Warner Brown Memorial Prize (University of California at Berkeley, 1968), The Walter Burfitt Prize (1992), The Award for Excellence in Publishing in Medical Science (Assoc Amer Publishers, 1999), The Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research (2001), The Alexander von Humbolt Foundation Prize (Germany 2004), and more.

Affiliations and Expertise

Neuroscience Research Australia and The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

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