Limbic system

The limbic system comprises a group of interconnected cortical and subcortical regions at the centre of the brain. The component structures form a ring around the brain stem and the diencephalon. The limbic system thereby occupies a bordering zone (limbus) between the diencephalon and telencephalon. It is the only cortical area to receive major projections from the hypothalamus. The limbic cortex functions as a central association area for the control of behaviour. It plays a major role in memory.

The concept of a system that plays a central role in memory and emotion was set out by James Papez in 1937, who described the Papez circuit. This is a reverberating circuit involved in short-term memory. The circuit comprises:

e Regions of limbic cortex: cingulate gyrus, parahippocampal gyrus, entorrhinal c

3 cortex.

p y Hippocampal formation: dentate gyrus; hippocampus.

I Amygdala: basolateral complex; anteromedial complex; parts of stria termina-

y lis and hypothalamus.

Nucleus accumbens. Mammillary bodies.

Anterior and dorsomedial nuclei of thalamus.

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