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T h e L imb i c 
S y s t em 
Presenter: Dr. M. Hemalatha 
Moderater: Dr.V. Sharbandhraj
Over view of presentation 
• History 
• Anatomy 
• Histology 
• Functional circuitry 
• Functions of the limbic system 
• Clinical implications
History 
• Paul broca applied the term limbic(latin-border)to the 
curved rim of cortex includes CG,PHG-b/n-diencephalon and 
cerebral hemespheres 
• James papez postulated on basis-anatomical data cortical 
regions linked hippocampus mammilary body and thalamus. 
• This concept supported by kluver & brucy who showed 
temporal lobe lesion which disrupts components of the 
circuit. 
• Paul maclean coined term LYMBIC SYSTEM to describe 
brocas lmbic lobe and related sub cortical structures in 
relation to emotions
Components of limbic system
Components of limbic system 
1. Limbic lobe 
a) cingulate gyrus 
b) parahippocampal gyurs 
2. Hippocampal formation 
a) dentate gyrus 
b) hippocampus 
c) sibicular complex 
3. Amygdala 
4. Septal area 
5. Hypothalamas 
Others - cortex and insula,uncus,sriaterminalis 
It is functional anatomical system interconnecting - cortical 
and sub cortical structures.
ANATOMY & HISTOLO 
The Cingulate gyrus 
• Located dorsal to corpus callosum 
• Includes several cortical regions 
that are heavily interconnected 
with the association areas of the 
cerebral cortex 
• Posteriorly, it becomes 
continuous (via bundle of fibres 
in the white matter-cingulum) 
with the parahippocapal gyrus.
The Parahippocampal gyrus 
• Located in medial temporal 
lobe 
• Lies between the hippocampal 
fissure and the collateral sulcus 
• Continuous with the 
hippocampus along with the 
medial edge of the temporal 
lobe 
• Cortical structure of 
parahippocampal gyrus is six 
layered.
The Dentate gyrus 
• -Narrow notched band of gray 
matter 
• -Lies between fimbria of the 
hippocampus and the 
parahippocampal gyrus 
• -Anteriorly– contunued into the 
uncus 
• -Posteriorly– continuous with 
indusium griseum 
-three layers– 
outer acellular molecular, 
middle granular 
inner polymorphic layer.
The hippocampus 
• Curved elevation of gray matter 
• Extends entire length of the floor of 
the inferior horn of the lateral 
ventricle 
• anterior end --- pes hippocampus 
• Terminates posteriorly– beneath the 
splenium of corpus callosum 
It is divided into FOUR distinct fields– 
CA1, CA2 and CA3 ,CA4(CA=Cornu 
ammonis) 
Alveus– thin layer of white matter 
adjacent to the poly morphic layr of 
hippocampus
• The hippocampus has- 
• outer molecular- 
• middle pyramidal- 
• Inner polymorphic 
subicular complex 
Includes pre, para, and 
subicular parts 
The transition region b/n 
hippocampus and 
parahippocampal gyrus
The amygdala 
• Located in medial temporal lobe 
• Just anterior to the hippocampal 
formation 
• It is fused with the tip of the tail of 
the caudate nucleus 
• Stria terminalis emerges from its post 
aspect 
• It is a group of nuclei larger 
basolater, smaller centromedial 
• Centromedial amygdala appears to be 
part of a larger structure that is 
continuous through the sublenticular 
innominate with bed nucleus of stria 
terminalis(extended amygdala)
septal area 
• Gray matter structure located immediately 
above the anterior commissure-projects to habenular nucei via 
stria medullaris thalami and ant hypothalamus. 
Insula 
Medial cortical gyrus located 
between the amygdala and the 
frontal lobe 
Uncus 
Formed by the amygdala and the 
rostral hippocampus
The entorhinal cortex 
• Located in the anterior part of the parahippocampal gyrus, 
on medial surface of temporal lobe 
• Transition zone between hippocampus and temporal 
neocortex
The hypothalamus 
• Lies at the centre of the limbicsystem 
• It is a confluence of many neural pathways 
• Devided-anterior to posterior 3 zones 
Supraoptic region 
Tuberal region 
Mammillary region 
3 zones devided by fornix in to medial and lateral 
areas 
The lateral and medial mamillary nuclei receive 
hippocampal input through fornix and project to the 
anterior nucleus of thlamus
Limbic spindle cells(Von Economo)–20 times more 
in humans than apes--- concentrated in ant 
cingulate gyrus, prefrontal cortex, the insula 
- central to governance of social emotion and 
moral judgement 
Mirror cells– more developed in humans than 
in primates-reside in insula, ant cingualte 
- mediate empathy– the experience of 
feeling the emotions of another
Connections of the limbic system 
• The major structures of limbic system are interconnected with 
each other and with other components of nervous system in 
various ways. 
In generel, it is area of intimate processing between 
hypothalamus and cortical information processing 
The connecting pathways of limbic system are– the alveus, the 
fimbriae, the fornix, the mamillothalamic tract, and the stria 
terminalis 
Neurotransmitter system in limbic system include– dopamine, 
serotonin, noradrenergic, and cholinergic systems
PAPEZ CIRCUIT 
PAPEZ CIRCUIT
Hippocampus conections 
major inputs---layers 2 &3 of ERC 
septal & hypothalamic fibers 
via fornix 
few from c/L hippo campal formation 
glutaminergic fibers frm – 
fimbria
Hippocapal efferents
Circuits of amygdala
Functions of the limbic system 
• The Ls is involved in behaviour required for self-preservation 
and the preservation of species 
control over behaviour regulated by hypothalamus and 
brainstem, Plays a role is sexual behaviour, Has special role in 
memory 
Part Function 
Amygdala AGGRESSION and FEAR 
Cingulate gyrus AUTONOMIC FUNCTION 
Hippocampus RECENT MEMORY 
Hypothalamus ENDOCRINE FUNCTION 
Mammillary body LONG MEMORY 
Nucleus accumbens ADDICTION 
Prefrontal area PERSONALITY 
Parahippocampus SPATIAL MEMORY
Olfaction: 
Amygdala and ERC are closely related olfactory cortex-role 
in processing of olfactory sensations. 
Amygdala-involves in emotional response to smell 
ERC- concerns with olfactory memories
Appetite and eating behaviors: 
Amygdala –food choice and emotional modulation of 
food intake 
Hypothalamus:LN-centre for control of feeding 
VMN-functions satiety centre 
EMOTIONAL RESPONSES 
FEAR: - 
response- produced by stimulation- amygdala and 
hypothalamus 
- amygdala involves in fear learning 
- imaging studies -viewing fearful faces stimulates leftamygdala 
damage-abolishes fear
Autonomic endocrine responses 
stimulation of the anterior cingulate & 
hypothalamus triggers -ANS 
Excessive stimulation- amplification of 
emotions and motor responses and may lead 
to anxiety, tics, impulsivity, and OCD. 
Inhibition leads to akinetic mutism, 
Post cingulate is important for visual spatial 
memory functions
Rage and placidity: 
- feeing of intense,violent or growing anger,associated 
with fright or flight response. 
- when faced with thretening situations hypotalamus 
releases harmones rapidly-rage 
- destruction of VM hypothalamic and septal nuclei intact 
cerebral cortices –rage 
- B/L damage amygdala-placidity 
- VM is destroyed after amgdala-placidity converted to rage
Sleep and dreams 
• PET,fMRI-shown LS is most active brain area in processing of 
dreaming. 
• LS-ties emotions and memory during REM to form content of 
dreams. 
• SCN Hypothalamus - cercadian rhythem generation-controls 
sleep-wake cycle 
• -GABAnergic,glutaminergic neurons- -VLPO-inhibits major 
arousal meconsms-promotes sleep 
• Lateral hypohalamic area-Orexinergic neurons –that 
promotes-wakefulness by inhibting VLPO,REM promoting 
thalamic nuclei- PPT-LDT.
Social cognition: 
- cingulate gyrus , basolateral amygdala are involved 
-- involves unerstandng and dealing with other people 
-- involves functioning regions that mediates-face 
perception, emotional processing ,self referense and 
working memory-support the complex behaviors for 
social interactions
Sexual behavior
Sexual behavior 
• MPOA- hypothalamus –key stucture in control of male 
sexual behavior, 
• Dopamin triggers penile erection by acting on 
oxytocenergic neurons in the PVN of hypothalamus 
• The inhibition of these neurons by GABA and its 
agonists,opioid like drugs inhibits sexual response 
• Glutaminergic inputs from Medial amygdala and bed 
nucleus stria terminalis - MPOA-mediates female 
stimulated increased dopamin –enhances copulatory 
ability,^ glutamate –MPOA- facilitate copulation and 
genital reflexes during ejaculation
memory 
Emotional memory:emotion has power ful influence on 
learning and memory 
Amygdala ,prefrontal cortex, medial temporl lobe-consolidation, 
retrival of emotional memories 
Amygdala,prefrotal cortex, and hippocampus-acuisition, 
extinction and recovery of fears to cues 
Hippocampus –critical for recent , declaratie memory 
Medial temporal lobe memory system: 
hippocampus ,adjecent cortex,para hppocampal region 
and enterorhinal perirhinal regions--storage of new 
memories 
Diencephalic memory system:hypothalamus,mammilary 
body,DM neucleus of thalamus-storage of recent memory 
--dysfunction of circuit-korsakoffs syndrome
Addiction and motivation 
• Reward circuitry under lying addictive behavior includes 
amygdala and nucleus accumbens 
• Amygdala plays acentral role in cue induced relapse.relapse 
is associated with cues, stress and single dose of drug abuse 
results in release of excitatory neuro transmitters in 
hippocampus and amygdala 
• The pathway of motivated behavior involves the prefrontal 
cortex,ventral tegmental area,amygdala,nucleus 
accumbense involved in motivation to take drugs of abuse 
and compulsive nature of drug taking.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS 
• TEMPORAL LOBE EPILEPSY—mc-hippocampal sclerosis 
hippocampal sclerosis+amygdala+parahppocampal gyrus 
termed –MTS-its not limited to medial temporal lobe also a 
LS-disorder 
• Limbic encephalitis-paraneoplastic syndrome – with 
Ca lung,breast. 
- mecnsm of disease not known-involves 
hippo,amygdala,cingulate gyrus,insula OFC 
-pts develops subacute memory loss,dementia,invluntory 
movements and ataxia
Alzhiemers dementia 
• Gross– medial temporal lobe atrophy and hippocampal 
atrophy most common 
• Plaques and tangles most frequently present in hippocampal 
and entorhinal cortex 
• Hippocampal damage-antegrade amnesia 
Hypofunction and hyperfunction of some anterior limbic 
areas---prefrontal regions and sub cortical structures-thalamus, 
striatum,amygdala 
BPAD
Korsakoffs psycosis 
• Caused by B1 deficiency-damage periventricular areas: 
medial thalamus, hypothalamus, mamillary bodies,reticular 
formation 
• Lesions show petechial hemorrhages, edema, myelin loss, 
and reactive gliosis. Neurons generally preserved. 
• Recent memory is more disturbed than remote 
memory,immediate recall is preserved. 
Limbic epilepsy-amygdala, 
hippocampus, ERC, cingulate or OFC 
• fear, déjà vu, jamais vu, elementary and complex 
visual hallucinations, illusions, forced thinking, or 
emotional distress.
• Anxiety disorders-may be result -failure of 
ant cingulate, hippocampus to modulate 
amygdala 
Kluver-bucy syndrome 
• Bilateral destruction of amygdala and 
inferior temporal cortex 
agnosia,placidity,hyperorality,hypersexuality 
• Causes: cerebraltruma,herpis encephalitis, 
infections alziemers dementias and other 
dementias,neimanpicks disease &CVdiseases
schizophrenia 
• Various addictive compounds affect the dopamine 
transmission in nucleus accumbens ( ventral 
striatum or (mesolimbic) and frontal cortical 
(mesocortical) systems. 
• these pathways functionally unbalanced in patients 
with schizophrenia. 
• pts - schizophrenia -diminished dopamine effects 
through mesocortical systems to the prefrontal 
cortex. Produce negetive symptoms . 
• increase in dopamine effects via the mesolimbic 
system to the ventral striatal system, resulting in 
positive symptoms
Autism and aspergers syndrome-cingulategyrus, 
and affective processing-dysfunction leads -ASD 
ADHD 
amygdala (BLcircuit) mediates cognitive 
• Enlarged hippocampus - children and adolecents in 
response to disturbances in perception of 
time,temporal proccessing and stimulus seeking 
associated with ADHD. 
• Disrupted connections b/n amygdala & 
orbitofrontal cortex may contribute behavioral 
disinhibition in people with ADHD
References 
• Kaplan and saddock’s comprehensinve textbook 
of psychiatry 
• Lishman, organic psychiatry 
• Adams & victor neuroanatomy 
• Lymbic system by E. Mohan das 
• Internet

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Limbicsystem

  • 1. T h e L imb i c S y s t em Presenter: Dr. M. Hemalatha Moderater: Dr.V. Sharbandhraj
  • 2. Over view of presentation • History • Anatomy • Histology • Functional circuitry • Functions of the limbic system • Clinical implications
  • 3. History • Paul broca applied the term limbic(latin-border)to the curved rim of cortex includes CG,PHG-b/n-diencephalon and cerebral hemespheres • James papez postulated on basis-anatomical data cortical regions linked hippocampus mammilary body and thalamus. • This concept supported by kluver & brucy who showed temporal lobe lesion which disrupts components of the circuit. • Paul maclean coined term LYMBIC SYSTEM to describe brocas lmbic lobe and related sub cortical structures in relation to emotions
  • 5. Components of limbic system 1. Limbic lobe a) cingulate gyrus b) parahippocampal gyurs 2. Hippocampal formation a) dentate gyrus b) hippocampus c) sibicular complex 3. Amygdala 4. Septal area 5. Hypothalamas Others - cortex and insula,uncus,sriaterminalis It is functional anatomical system interconnecting - cortical and sub cortical structures.
  • 6. ANATOMY & HISTOLO The Cingulate gyrus • Located dorsal to corpus callosum • Includes several cortical regions that are heavily interconnected with the association areas of the cerebral cortex • Posteriorly, it becomes continuous (via bundle of fibres in the white matter-cingulum) with the parahippocapal gyrus.
  • 7. The Parahippocampal gyrus • Located in medial temporal lobe • Lies between the hippocampal fissure and the collateral sulcus • Continuous with the hippocampus along with the medial edge of the temporal lobe • Cortical structure of parahippocampal gyrus is six layered.
  • 8. The Dentate gyrus • -Narrow notched band of gray matter • -Lies between fimbria of the hippocampus and the parahippocampal gyrus • -Anteriorly– contunued into the uncus • -Posteriorly– continuous with indusium griseum -three layers– outer acellular molecular, middle granular inner polymorphic layer.
  • 9. The hippocampus • Curved elevation of gray matter • Extends entire length of the floor of the inferior horn of the lateral ventricle • anterior end --- pes hippocampus • Terminates posteriorly– beneath the splenium of corpus callosum It is divided into FOUR distinct fields– CA1, CA2 and CA3 ,CA4(CA=Cornu ammonis) Alveus– thin layer of white matter adjacent to the poly morphic layr of hippocampus
  • 10. • The hippocampus has- • outer molecular- • middle pyramidal- • Inner polymorphic subicular complex Includes pre, para, and subicular parts The transition region b/n hippocampus and parahippocampal gyrus
  • 11. The amygdala • Located in medial temporal lobe • Just anterior to the hippocampal formation • It is fused with the tip of the tail of the caudate nucleus • Stria terminalis emerges from its post aspect • It is a group of nuclei larger basolater, smaller centromedial • Centromedial amygdala appears to be part of a larger structure that is continuous through the sublenticular innominate with bed nucleus of stria terminalis(extended amygdala)
  • 12. septal area • Gray matter structure located immediately above the anterior commissure-projects to habenular nucei via stria medullaris thalami and ant hypothalamus. Insula Medial cortical gyrus located between the amygdala and the frontal lobe Uncus Formed by the amygdala and the rostral hippocampus
  • 13. The entorhinal cortex • Located in the anterior part of the parahippocampal gyrus, on medial surface of temporal lobe • Transition zone between hippocampus and temporal neocortex
  • 14. The hypothalamus • Lies at the centre of the limbicsystem • It is a confluence of many neural pathways • Devided-anterior to posterior 3 zones Supraoptic region Tuberal region Mammillary region 3 zones devided by fornix in to medial and lateral areas The lateral and medial mamillary nuclei receive hippocampal input through fornix and project to the anterior nucleus of thlamus
  • 15. Limbic spindle cells(Von Economo)–20 times more in humans than apes--- concentrated in ant cingulate gyrus, prefrontal cortex, the insula - central to governance of social emotion and moral judgement Mirror cells– more developed in humans than in primates-reside in insula, ant cingualte - mediate empathy– the experience of feeling the emotions of another
  • 16. Connections of the limbic system • The major structures of limbic system are interconnected with each other and with other components of nervous system in various ways. In generel, it is area of intimate processing between hypothalamus and cortical information processing The connecting pathways of limbic system are– the alveus, the fimbriae, the fornix, the mamillothalamic tract, and the stria terminalis Neurotransmitter system in limbic system include– dopamine, serotonin, noradrenergic, and cholinergic systems
  • 18. Hippocampus conections major inputs---layers 2 &3 of ERC septal & hypothalamic fibers via fornix few from c/L hippo campal formation glutaminergic fibers frm – fimbria
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  • 23. Functions of the limbic system • The Ls is involved in behaviour required for self-preservation and the preservation of species control over behaviour regulated by hypothalamus and brainstem, Plays a role is sexual behaviour, Has special role in memory Part Function Amygdala AGGRESSION and FEAR Cingulate gyrus AUTONOMIC FUNCTION Hippocampus RECENT MEMORY Hypothalamus ENDOCRINE FUNCTION Mammillary body LONG MEMORY Nucleus accumbens ADDICTION Prefrontal area PERSONALITY Parahippocampus SPATIAL MEMORY
  • 24. Olfaction: Amygdala and ERC are closely related olfactory cortex-role in processing of olfactory sensations. Amygdala-involves in emotional response to smell ERC- concerns with olfactory memories
  • 25. Appetite and eating behaviors: Amygdala –food choice and emotional modulation of food intake Hypothalamus:LN-centre for control of feeding VMN-functions satiety centre EMOTIONAL RESPONSES FEAR: - response- produced by stimulation- amygdala and hypothalamus - amygdala involves in fear learning - imaging studies -viewing fearful faces stimulates leftamygdala damage-abolishes fear
  • 26. Autonomic endocrine responses stimulation of the anterior cingulate & hypothalamus triggers -ANS Excessive stimulation- amplification of emotions and motor responses and may lead to anxiety, tics, impulsivity, and OCD. Inhibition leads to akinetic mutism, Post cingulate is important for visual spatial memory functions
  • 27. Rage and placidity: - feeing of intense,violent or growing anger,associated with fright or flight response. - when faced with thretening situations hypotalamus releases harmones rapidly-rage - destruction of VM hypothalamic and septal nuclei intact cerebral cortices –rage - B/L damage amygdala-placidity - VM is destroyed after amgdala-placidity converted to rage
  • 28. Sleep and dreams • PET,fMRI-shown LS is most active brain area in processing of dreaming. • LS-ties emotions and memory during REM to form content of dreams. • SCN Hypothalamus - cercadian rhythem generation-controls sleep-wake cycle • -GABAnergic,glutaminergic neurons- -VLPO-inhibits major arousal meconsms-promotes sleep • Lateral hypohalamic area-Orexinergic neurons –that promotes-wakefulness by inhibting VLPO,REM promoting thalamic nuclei- PPT-LDT.
  • 29. Social cognition: - cingulate gyrus , basolateral amygdala are involved -- involves unerstandng and dealing with other people -- involves functioning regions that mediates-face perception, emotional processing ,self referense and working memory-support the complex behaviors for social interactions
  • 31. Sexual behavior • MPOA- hypothalamus –key stucture in control of male sexual behavior, • Dopamin triggers penile erection by acting on oxytocenergic neurons in the PVN of hypothalamus • The inhibition of these neurons by GABA and its agonists,opioid like drugs inhibits sexual response • Glutaminergic inputs from Medial amygdala and bed nucleus stria terminalis - MPOA-mediates female stimulated increased dopamin –enhances copulatory ability,^ glutamate –MPOA- facilitate copulation and genital reflexes during ejaculation
  • 32. memory Emotional memory:emotion has power ful influence on learning and memory Amygdala ,prefrontal cortex, medial temporl lobe-consolidation, retrival of emotional memories Amygdala,prefrotal cortex, and hippocampus-acuisition, extinction and recovery of fears to cues Hippocampus –critical for recent , declaratie memory Medial temporal lobe memory system: hippocampus ,adjecent cortex,para hppocampal region and enterorhinal perirhinal regions--storage of new memories Diencephalic memory system:hypothalamus,mammilary body,DM neucleus of thalamus-storage of recent memory --dysfunction of circuit-korsakoffs syndrome
  • 33. Addiction and motivation • Reward circuitry under lying addictive behavior includes amygdala and nucleus accumbens • Amygdala plays acentral role in cue induced relapse.relapse is associated with cues, stress and single dose of drug abuse results in release of excitatory neuro transmitters in hippocampus and amygdala • The pathway of motivated behavior involves the prefrontal cortex,ventral tegmental area,amygdala,nucleus accumbense involved in motivation to take drugs of abuse and compulsive nature of drug taking.
  • 34. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS • TEMPORAL LOBE EPILEPSY—mc-hippocampal sclerosis hippocampal sclerosis+amygdala+parahppocampal gyrus termed –MTS-its not limited to medial temporal lobe also a LS-disorder • Limbic encephalitis-paraneoplastic syndrome – with Ca lung,breast. - mecnsm of disease not known-involves hippo,amygdala,cingulate gyrus,insula OFC -pts develops subacute memory loss,dementia,invluntory movements and ataxia
  • 35. Alzhiemers dementia • Gross– medial temporal lobe atrophy and hippocampal atrophy most common • Plaques and tangles most frequently present in hippocampal and entorhinal cortex • Hippocampal damage-antegrade amnesia Hypofunction and hyperfunction of some anterior limbic areas---prefrontal regions and sub cortical structures-thalamus, striatum,amygdala BPAD
  • 36. Korsakoffs psycosis • Caused by B1 deficiency-damage periventricular areas: medial thalamus, hypothalamus, mamillary bodies,reticular formation • Lesions show petechial hemorrhages, edema, myelin loss, and reactive gliosis. Neurons generally preserved. • Recent memory is more disturbed than remote memory,immediate recall is preserved. Limbic epilepsy-amygdala, hippocampus, ERC, cingulate or OFC • fear, déjà vu, jamais vu, elementary and complex visual hallucinations, illusions, forced thinking, or emotional distress.
  • 37. • Anxiety disorders-may be result -failure of ant cingulate, hippocampus to modulate amygdala Kluver-bucy syndrome • Bilateral destruction of amygdala and inferior temporal cortex agnosia,placidity,hyperorality,hypersexuality • Causes: cerebraltruma,herpis encephalitis, infections alziemers dementias and other dementias,neimanpicks disease &CVdiseases
  • 38. schizophrenia • Various addictive compounds affect the dopamine transmission in nucleus accumbens ( ventral striatum or (mesolimbic) and frontal cortical (mesocortical) systems. • these pathways functionally unbalanced in patients with schizophrenia. • pts - schizophrenia -diminished dopamine effects through mesocortical systems to the prefrontal cortex. Produce negetive symptoms . • increase in dopamine effects via the mesolimbic system to the ventral striatal system, resulting in positive symptoms
  • 39. Autism and aspergers syndrome-cingulategyrus, and affective processing-dysfunction leads -ASD ADHD amygdala (BLcircuit) mediates cognitive • Enlarged hippocampus - children and adolecents in response to disturbances in perception of time,temporal proccessing and stimulus seeking associated with ADHD. • Disrupted connections b/n amygdala & orbitofrontal cortex may contribute behavioral disinhibition in people with ADHD
  • 40. References • Kaplan and saddock’s comprehensinve textbook of psychiatry • Lishman, organic psychiatry • Adams & victor neuroanatomy • Lymbic system by E. Mohan das • Internet