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Diencephalon (Left)
Nervous System

Diencephalon (Left)

Diencephalon

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Quick Facts

The diencephalon is a part of the prosencephalon, or forebrain, and it is located just beneath the cerebrum and above the midbrain, connecting the two. It acts as a very important relay station for and integrator of sensory information travelling to the brain for further processing. It is also involved in the regulation of a number of autonomic functions such as sleep/wake cycles, thermoregulation and hormonal homeostasis.

The diencephalon is primarily composed of the thalamus, the hypothalamus, the subthalamus and the epithalamus. The diencephalon also includes important structures involved in hormonal control, including the pineal body and the pituitary gland.

The thalamus is responsible for receiving, organizing and relaying sensory information traveling to higher parts of the cerebral cortex for processing. The subthalamus lies beneath the thalamus and is involved in motor functions, while the epithalamus connects the limbic system with other parts of the brain.

The hypothalamus is responsible for regulating hormonal homeostasis through its interaction with the pituitary gland and for controlling hunger, thirst, sleep, temperature and circadian rhythms.

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Diencephalon

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diencephalon (hypothalamus) and brainstem (raphe, locus coeruleus, reticular formation and ventral lateral medulla) provide the largest input and the pattern of innervation viewed in horizontal sections reveals a ladder like arrangement of the distribution of nerve terminals [1].

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