- brain regions
The central nervous system of mammals is complex and the terminology often confusing. In development the brain is generated from the most anterior portion of the neural tube and there are three main regions, fore, mid and hind brain. The lumen of the embryonic nervous system persists in the adult as the cerebral ventricles, filled with cerebrospinal fluid, which are connected to the central canal of the spinal cord. The forebrain develops to produce the cerebral hemispheres and basal ganglia and the diencephalon which forms the thalamus and hypothalamus. The cerebrum consists of two hemispheres, connected by the corpus callosum, the outer part being greatly expanded in man with the increased surface being thrown into fold (ridges are gyri, valleys are sulci). The outer layer (cerebral cortex) is responsible for so-called higher order functions such as memory, consciousness and abstract thought, the deeper layers (basal ganglia) include the caudate nucleus and putamen (collectively the striatum), amygdaloid nucleus and hippocampus. The hypothalamus controls endocrine function (hunger, thirst, emotion, behavious, sleep), the thalamus coordinates sensory input and pain perception. The midbrain is relatively small and develops to form corpora quadrigemina and the cerebral peduncle. The hindbrain develops into two regions, the more anterior being the metencephalon, the region nearest the spinal cord being the myelencephalon. The metencephalon contains the cerebellum, responsible for sensory input and coordination of voluntary muscles, and the pons. The myelencephalon contains the medulla oblongata, which regulates blood pressure, heart rate and other basic involuntary functions, and dorsally the choroid plexus.
Dictionary of molecular biology. 2004.