Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

pp 1519-1521

Mammillary Bodies

  • Jill B. RichAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, York University


Corpus mamillare; Mammillary nuclei


The mammillary bodies are composed of a pair of nuclei (medial and lateral) and associated gray matter in the posterior hypothalamus, which itself is part of the diencephalon. These small, spherical structures derive their name from their breast-shaped appearance, especially as viewed on coronal section, as in Figure 1, part 71. They are located in the interpeduncular fossa of the midbrain, rostral to the posterior perforated substance, thereby forming the terminals of the anterior pillars of the fornix. Both groups of mammillary nuclei receive dense afferent projections from the hippocampal formation via the fornix. In addition, the medial mammillary nuclei (Fig 1, part e) receive projections from the rostral subiculum, and the lateral mammillary nuclei (Fig 1, part f) receive projections from the pre-, para-, and post-subicula. As its name suggests, the mammillothalamic tract connects the mammillary bodies to the (a ...

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