Updated: 7/7/2017

Limbic System

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  • Function
    • the limbic system is involved in
      • Homeostasis
      • Olfaction
      • Memory
      • Emotions and drives
      • mnemonic "HOME"
  • Anatomy
    • the main components of the limbic system includes
      • limbic cortex
      • hippocampal formation
        • involved in learning and memory
      • amygdala
        • involved in emotions and drives
      • olfactory cortex
      • hypothalamus
      • thalamus
    • Papez circuit
      • although it overly simplifies the circuitry of the limbic system, it is a useful way to expose yourself to this circuitry
        • fibers from the hippocampal formation enter the fornix to reach
          • the lateral and medial mammillary nuclei
        • fibers from the medial mammillary nuclei project to the
          • anterior nucleus of the thalamus (via the mammillothalamic tract), which subsequently project fibers to the
            • cingulate gyrus after passing through the internal capsule
        • fibers from the cingulate gyrus then project to the
          • parahippocampul gyrus and then to the
            • enterrhinal cortex and finally to the
              • hippocampal formation
  • Clinical correlate
    • anterograde amnesia
      • this describes a deficit in forming new memories and can be seen in
        • bilateral medial temporal lobe damage
    • Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome
      • this is caused by thiamine deficiency and results in
        • bilateral necrosis of the mamillary bodies (in most cases)
      • these patients typically present with the triad of
        • ataxia
        • eye movement abnormalities (e.g., ophthalmoplegia)
        • confusion
      • after the patient survives the acute stages of this disease, they can develop
        • anterograde and retrograde amnesia
    • Kluver-Bucy syndrome
      • this results from bilateral lesions of the amygdala and adjacent temporal lobe structures, which results in
        • placidity
          • decreased aggressive behavior and having little emotional reaction
        • psychic blindness
        • hyperorality
        • hypersexuality
    • Schizophenia
      • defective dopaminergic signaling in the mesolimbic pathway (ventral tegmental area of the midbrain to the ventral striatum)
        • responsible for positive psychotic symptoms (e.g., delusions, hallucinations) 

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