The Midbrain Periaqueductal Gray Matter

Volume 213 of the series NATO ASI Series pp 239-265

Descending Pathways from the Periaqueductal Gray and Adjacent Areas

  • Gert HolstegeAffiliated withDepartment of Anatomy and Embryology, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

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The limbic system consists of several structures in the cortex cerebri as well as in the mostly ventral portions of the diencephalon. For a discussion of which structures belong to it, see Holstege (1991). As early as 1958, Nauta pointed out that the limbic system has extremely strong reciprocal connections with mesencephalic structures such as the periaqueductal gray (PAG) and the laterally and ventrally adjoining tegmentum (Nauta’s limbic system-midbrain circuit). More recent findings strongly support Nauta’s concept and has led Holstege (1990) to consider the mesencephalic periaqueductal gray (PAG) and large parts of the lateral and ventral mesencephalic tegmentum as the caudal pole of the limbic system.