Nucleus (CNS)

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In neuroanatomy, the nucleus ( Latin nucleus "core"; plural nuclei ), nucleus , nucleus or core area is a collection of nerve cell bodies ( perikaryen or somata ) that lies within the central nervous system and is surrounded by white matter . The nuclei here together with the cortex of the cerebrum and cerebellum form the gray matter ( substantia grisea ).

While the individual nuclei in the brain are often clearly distinguishable from one another, these groups in the spinal cord , which are made up of functionally related cell bodies, are not clearly separated by white matter. Together they form a butterfly shape in the spinal cord cross-section. The nuclei, which extend over several spinal cord sections, are also referred to as nuclear columns ( Columnae ).

Aggregations of nerve cell bodies outside the CNS are called ganglia .

Deviating from the rule of referring to accumulations of nerve cell bodies in the peripheral nervous system as ganglia, but in the central nervous system as nuclei, the term basal ganglia (basal ganglia) is traditionally used for certain subcortical nuclei in the telencephalon .

Important nuclei in the mammalian brain


In the endbrain ( telencephalon ), the basal nuclei ( basal ganglia ) are located medially at the base of a cerebral hemisphere under the mantle of the cerebral cortex and medullary bed . Their functional meaning and relationship to one another has not yet been finally clarified. You are u. a. a switching point of the so-called extrapyramidal motor system and important for involuntary expressive movements. The basal nuclei include:

Putamen and globus pallidus are sometimes grouped together as the nucleus lentiformis (lens body), but this is considered out of date, since the putamen and the nucleus caudatus belong together phylogenetically.

The claustrum (front wall) lies to the side of the basal nuclei, directly under the cerebral cortex. The amygdala ( corpus amygdaloideum , tonsil body) is located medial to the temporal lobe and is part of the limbic system .


In the diencephalon ( diencephalon ), a distinction is non-specific and specific nuclei in the thalamus and the geniculate in metathalamus . There are over 100 core groups in the thalamus alone. In the nuclei of the hypothalamus , effector hormones , liberins and statins and neuropeptides are formed.


The midbrain ( mesencephalon ) includes :


In the hindbrain ( metencephalon ) are among others:

Medullary brain

In the medullary brain ( myelencephalon or medulla oblongata ) are among others:

Nuclei in the spinal cord

  • Nucleus intermediolateralis : in the gray matter, origin of the sympathetic nerve fibers in the thoracic and lumbar cord
  • Motor nuclei (core column): in the anterior / ventral horn of the gray matter, origin of the motor fibers of the spinal cord nerves

See also