Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Cortical-Subcortical Loop

  • Janna L. HarrisEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_310


Basal ganglia-thalamocortical circuit; Cortico-basal ganglia loop


The cortical-subcortical loop describes a class of distinct, parallel circuits that connect specific regions of cerebral cortex with the basal ganglia and specific thalamic nuclei. The thalamic nuclei complete the loop by projecting back to the same regions of cortex from which the circuits originate.

Current Knowledge

Several distinct, anatomically segregated cortical-subcortical loops may be characterized based on the functional role of the cortical regions involved.

Motor Loop

The motor loop plays a role in the preparation and execution of movement. Primary motor cortex and associated premotor areas project via the putamen to the ventral tier nuclei of the thalamus, which then complete the loop with projections back to motor cortex. Somatotopic organization is maintained through all stages of this circuit.

Oculomotor Loop

The oculomotor loop is involved in the control of eye movements. The frontal...

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References and Readings

  1. Alexander, G. E., Crutcher, M. D., & DeLong, M. R. (1990). Basal ganglia-thalamocortical circuits: Parallel substrates for motor, oculomotor, “prefrontal” and “limbic” functions. Progress in Brain Research, 85, 119–146.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. DeLong, M. R., & Wichmann, T. (2007). Circuits and circuit disorders of the basal ganglia. Archives of Neurology, 64(1), 20–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and Cell BiologyUniversity of Kansas Medical CenterKansas CityUSA
  2. 2.Hoglund Brain Imaging CenterUniversity of Kansas Medical CenterKansas CityUSA