Human anatomy > Central Nervous System > Diencephalon

The diencephalon is an important part of the brain. Even with only the size of an apricot, its function is so enormous that you cannot live normally when it is defective. This part is in the core center of the brain, above the brainstem. The complexity of the structure associates well with its functions. Here are the parts of this tiny tissue. 



The thalamus comprises the upper and majority parts of the diencephalon. It occupies 80% of its total mass. The thalamus is divided into two lobes. Several nuclei make up each of the lobes of the organ. The basis of their naming depends on their position. You can have names such as the medial, lateral or central nuclei. Together with the basal ganglia and cerebellum, this part of the diencephalon is responsible for the movement coordination of the brain. 


The hypothalamus lies just beneath the thalamus. It is the lower part of the diencephalon. It is crucial in the regulation of behavior. The organ functions by stimulating the release of certain hormones coming from the pituitary gland.  Your physical appetite, autonomic functions, temperature control, and diurnal rhythms are under the control of this tiny part. With its major function, you can say that this part maintains the homeostasis in the body. Closely associated with it are the optic chiasm, the point where the optic nerves meet; and the mammilary bodies, involved in the olfactory reflexes and response to odors. 

Other Parts

Other parts of the diencephalon are the metathalamus, epithalamus and the prethalamus. The interrelated functions make chewing, eye movement and the different senses possible.

The brain may seem simple when you perform gross examination. But when you try to analyze each part, your mind may not comprehend how complex its work is. You can start your understanding by starting your anatomical study of the diencephalon.

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