Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Linda L. PhillipsEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_313


Epithalamus-pineal gland; Habenular nuclei; Subthalamus-Subthalamic nucleus; Zona incerta


The diencephalon can be divided into four regions: epithalamus, thalamus, subthalamus, and hypothalamus. The epithalamusconstitutes a small area of the diencephalon, located dorsally above the thalamus. It contains the pineal, a lobular midline structure, just rostral to the superior colliculi. Historically thought to be the “seat of the soul,” neurons in this single midline structure are called pinealocytes, which secrete melatonin and are linked with the retina through a circuitous path via the sympathetic chain. At the base of the pineal, a stalk connects the structure to the remainder of the diencephalon. The bilateral habenula is the other component of the epithalamus, positioned rostral to the pineal and posterior commissure. The two habenular nuclei are joined by a commissure, and receive input from the dorsal thalamus via the stria medullaris fibers. Output from the...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Anatomy and NeurobiologyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA