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Brain: Medial dorsal nucleus
Thalamic nuclei:
MNG = Midline nuclear group
AN = Anterior nuclear group
MD = Medial dorsal nucleus
VNG = Ventral nuclear group
VA = Ventral anterior nucleus
VL = Ventral lateral nucleus
VPL = Ventral posterolateral nucleus
VPM = Ventral posteromedial nucleus
LNG = Lateral nuclear group
PUL = Pulvinar
MTh = Metathalamus
LG = Lateral geniculate nucleus
MG = Medial geniculate nucleus
Latin nucleus mediodorsalis thalami
Gray's subject #
Part of
BrainInfo/UW hier-295
MeSH [1]

The medial dorsal nucleus (or dorsomedial nucleus) is a a large nucleus in the thalamus.


It communicates with the limbic lobe and prefrontal cortex. The connections of the medial dorsal nucleus have even been used to delineate the prefrontal cortex of the minipig.[1]

By stereology the number of brain cells in the region has been estimated to around 6.43 million neurons in the adult human brain and 36.3 million glial cells, and with the newborn having quite different numbers: around 11.2 million neurons and 10.6 million glial cells.[2]


The Medial dorsal nucleus has been implicated in memory. [3]

Role in pain processing

While both the ventral and medial dorsal nuclei process pain, the medial dorsal nucleus bypasses primary cortices, sending their axons directly to secondary and association cortices. The cells also send axons directly to many parts of the brain, including nuclei of the limbic system such as the lateral nucleus of the amygdala, the anterior cingulate, and the hippocampus. This part of the sensory system, known as the non-classical or extralemniscal system is less accurate, and less detailed in regards to sensory signal analysis. This processing is known colloquially as "fast and dirty" rather than the "slow and accurate" system of classical or lemniscal system. This pathway activates parts of the brain that evoke emotional responses.

Clinical significance

It is one of the areas damaged in Korsakoff's syndrome in which Anterograde amnesia is a feature.[4]

Additional images

See also


  1. Jacob Jelsing, Anders Hay-Schmidt, Tim Dyrby, Ralf Hemmingsen, Harry B. M. Uylings, Bente Pakkenberg (2006). The prefrontal cortex in the Göttingen minipig brain defined by neural projection criteria and cytoarchitecture. Brain Research Bulletin 70 (4–6): 322–336.
  2. Maja Abitz, Rune Damgaard Nielsen, Edward G. Jones, Henning Laursen, Niels Graem and Bente Pakkenberg (2007). Excess of Neurons in the Human Newborn Mediodorsal Thalamus Compared with That of the Adult. Cerebral Cortex 17 (11): 2573–2578.
  3. *Reber, A.S & Reber, E.S. (2001). Dictionary of Psychology. London. Penguin
  4. *Reber, A.S & Reber, E.S. (2001). Dictionary of Psychology. London. Penguin

External links

  • Yamamoto T, Yoshida K, Yoshikawa H, Kishimoto Y, Oka H (1992). The medial dorsal nucleus is one of the thalamic relays of the cerebellocerebral responses to the frontal association cortex in the monkey: horseradish peroxidase and fluorescent dye double staining study. Brain Res 579 (2): 315-20. PMID 1378349.

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