Brain peduncles: functions, structure and anatomy

The human brain it is such a complex organ that in order to function it must have the participation of a large number of parts and structures in its anatomy. Many of these parts of the brain are large and easy to see with the naked eye, like the frontal lobes, but others are very small and located under these superficial folds.

This is the case with cerebral peduncles, Small regions of the brain which, despite their size, are very large. Below you can get to know these anatomical structures better.

What are brain peduncles?

The human brain is generally made up of two main types of “materials”: gray matter and white matter. The first is that which contains a higher concentration of neuronal sums “that is to say of” body “of neurons (the area in which the nucleus of these cells is located), while in the areas with white matter, they predominate., narrow and elongated elements which, when grouped together in bundles, form nerve fibers.

The cerebral peduncles are two small cylindrical and white structures which are composed of white matter. They originate from the trunk of the brain, more precisely on the bridge of Varolio, and reach the cerebral cortex protruding vertically.

Between the peduncles of the brain is the interpeduncular fossa, a space that acts as a physical separation between these two structures as if it were some kind of tunnel. Outraged, the ventral and dorsal sides of each peduncle are separated between them by a sheet of something that is not white matter, but something known as dark matter.

They are not the same as the cerebellar peduncles

It is easy to believe that the brain peduncles are the same as the cerebellar peduncles, but it is not. These second structures have a similar functionAs they also function as important nerve pathways which collect information from various regions. However, their location and the type of information that makes up these neural signal conduits are different.

Functions of brain peduncles

Brain peduncles are essentially “autopsies” of nerve impulses that pass through the brain. Since they are made of white matter, this information passes through them quickly, as the myelin that covers axons (and gives these structures that white tint) makes these electrical signals pass at high speed.

The main function of the cerebral peduncles is therefore that of communicate two areas of the brain: The midbrain (located at the top of the brainstem) and the cerebral cortex. In fact, these nerve fiber channels reach the division that is created between the two cerebral hemispheres.

In fact, the peduncles contain several pathways. One of them is the corticoespinal, which, as the name suggests, communicates the crust with the spinal cord, and the other is corticopontino treatment, Which connects the crust with the bridge of Varolio.

As the brainstem is responsible for performing automatic and stereotypical actions useful or necessary for our survival, the role of brain peduncles is also linked to this task.

Thus, the main functions of these bundles of nerve fibers are regulation of motor impulses and the transmission of reflex acts, two very useful mechanisms to keep us alive, because they allow us to react quickly to significant events (especially if they are dangerous or harmful).

Specifically, the peduncles play an important role in the reflex eye movements, Necessary for them to function well, and in the coordination of these acts with other movements of the head and neck.

More precisely, these structures are involved in the reflex control of reflex movements. This usually happens when orders from the motor cortex reach the cerebral peduncles, and from these go to various nuclei of a structure known as the thalamus, located deep within the brain, in an area known as the diencephalon.

Parts of this pair of structures

Brain peduncles receive connections from the cerebellum, cerebral cortex, and lower areas of the brainstem and spinal cord.

On another side, brain peduncles are made up of several parts or sections. One of them is the roof of the midbrain, which is succeeded by the cerebral brute, and the other region is called the pretectum. The tectum extends beyond the brainstem, reaching the cortex of the brain.

The complexity of the various components of the peduncles has to do with the fact that these are located in an area of ​​the central nervous system in which all kinds of control and coordination functions of specialized actions are performed and created for millions of years. , evolution and natural selection. In a small space, the brainstem has tiny areas responsible for performing vital actions such as regulating heart rate or controlling body temperature.

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