Paraventricular Thalamus as A Major Thalamic Structure for Wake Control

  • Yu-Feng Shao
  • Jian-Sheng Lin
  • Yi-Ping HouEmail author

The thalamus is the gate of the cerebral cortex, the ultimate target for the neural networks controlling behavioral states and cognitive functions. According to the reticular theory initially proposed by Moruzzi and Magoun, excitatory inputs from large reticular zones of the brainstem via widespread intra- and extra-thalamocortical systems finally activate the cerebral cortex to cause generalized cortical activation and wakefulness [1]. This theory proposes a central relay role to the thalamus for cortical activation as supported by early studies using neurodegeneration techniques and by the elegant work of Steriade’s group and other investigators illustrating the electrophysiological mechanisms of the thalamocortical system at the cellular level during wakefulness, rapid eye-movement sleep (REMs) and non-REM sleep (NREMs) [2]. Yet, more selective lesion studies conducted between 1960 and the 2000s by many research teams have questioned the importance of the thalamus because these...



This highlight was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81471347, 81771426, and 31500853) and by the Talent-Introducing Project of State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs of China (X2017008).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest.


  1. 1.
    Moruzzi G, Magoun HW. Brain stem reticular formation and activation of the EEG. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 1949, 1: 455–473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Steriade M, Timofeev I. Neuronal plasticity in thalamocortical networks during sleep and waking oscillations. Neuron 2003, 37: 563–576.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Lee SH, Dan Y. Neuromodulation of brain states. Neuron 2012, 76: 209–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Lin JS, Anaclet C, Sergeeva OA, Haas HL. The waking brain: an update. Cell Mol Life Sci 2011, 68: 2499–2512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ren S, Wang Y, Yue F, Cheng X, Dang R, Qiao Q, et al. The paraventricular thalamus is a critical thalamic area for wakefulness. Science 2018, 362: 429–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Gent TC, Bassetti C, Adamantidis AR. Sleep-wake control and the thalamus. Curr Opin Neurobiol 2018, 52: 188–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Luo YJ, Li YD, Wang L, Yang SR, Yuan XS, Wang J, et al. Nucleus accumbens controls wakefulness by a subpopulation of neurons expressing dopamine D1 receptors. Nat Commun 2018, 9: 1576.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Mátyás F, Komlósi G, Babiczky Á, Kocsis K, Barthó P, Barsy B, et al. A highly collateralized thalamic cell type with arousal-predicting activity serves as a key hub for graded state transitions in the forebrain. Nat Neurosci 2018, 21: 1551–1562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Gent TC, Bandarabadi M, Herrera CG, Adamantidis AR. Thalamic dual control of sleep and wakefulness. Nat Neurosci 2018, 21(7): 974–984.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Poulet JF, Fernandez LM, Crochet S, Petersen CC. Thalamic control of cortical states. Nat Neurosci 2012, 15: 370–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hermann DM, Siccoli M, Brugger P, Wachter K, Mathis J, Achermann P, et al. Evolution of neurological, neuropsychological and sleep-wake disturbances after paramedian thalamic stroke. Stroke 2008, 39: 62–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, CAS 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Neuroscience, Anatomy, Histology, and Embryology, Key Laboratory of Preclinical Study for New Drugs of Gansu Province, School of Basic Medical SciencesLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina
  2. 2.Integrative Physiology of the Brain Arousal SystemsLyon Neuroscience Research CenterLyonFrance

Personalised recommendations