Where is the midbrain located?

The midbrain is not just a bridge between the hindbrain and the forebrain, it is plays several important roles in controlling the eye responses to light exposure and hearing. In terms of positioning, the midbrain is a relatively small structure located under the cerebral cortex, in the immediate approach of the brain’s center, right between the cerebral pedicles.

Its anatomy is pretty simple: the midbrain incorporates the corpora quadricemena, known also as the tectum (responsible for optic and hearing reflexes), the cerebral peduncles (known also as the basis pedunculi), and a couple of other nuclei and fasciculi. It is therefore safe to say that this structure connects, basically, the brain stem to the higher-level structures in the brain.

midbrain locationThe tectum is per se the most important part of the midbrain as it comprises 4 colliculi, the caudal and the rostral ones. The first ones are liked to the thalamus (one of the most important relay stations of the central nervous system) through the medial geniculate body and play a major role in processing sounds. The other ones, the rostral colliculi, are also linked to the thalamus, but not by the medical geniculate body, but by the medial geniculate body. This formation helps the brain to process visual information, including processing special information (even during the sleep).

Another distinctive structure of the midbrain is the surface called Substantia Nigra, which can be identified with ease by it’s relatively dark/blackish pigmentation. Anatomists say about this area that it is involved in the control of the moves, not of all the moves, but only the one made voluntarily.

Last but not least, midbrain helps the hypothalamus to regulate the body temperature. Depending on the information it receives, both of the structure can decide whether to cool the body (and stimulate sweating) or to heat the body (especially in infections, as a primary protection system against the bacteria or the viruses).

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