What is the Limbic System? Duties

The limbic system is the part of our brain that deals with emotional and behavioral responses. In particular, it affects the basic behaviors of life such as feeding, reproduction, child care, fight or flight response. It affects the hormonal and autonomic system. The limbic system is located deep in the brain, below the cerebral cortex and above the brain stem. The two most important structures in the limbic system are the hippocampus and amygdala. The thalamus, hypothalamus, and basal ganglia also interact with the limbic system.

Since the limbic system is located on the border of the brain, between the cerebral hemispheres and the brain stem, it is named after the Latin word limbus , which means border . What are the anatomical structures that make up the limbic system is a controversial issue. It is considered to consist of the following structures:

Cortical regions:

  • Limbic lob
  • Orbitofrontal cortex: Decision- making area located in the frontal lobe.
  • Piriform cortex: Part of the olfactory system.
  • Entorhinal cortex: responsible for memory and relationship building.
  • The hippocampus and associated structures: play a central role in the formation of new memories.
  • Fornix: Connects the hippocampus to other brain structures, particularly mammillary bodies and septal nuclei.

Subcortical regions:

  • Septal nuclei: a group of structures located in front of the lamina terminalis, it is considered to be associated with the sense of pleasure.
  • Amygdala: Located deep in the temporal lobes, it is involved in various emotional processes.
  • Nucleus accumbes: Associated with reward, pleasure, and addiction.

Diencephalic structures:

  • Hypothalamus: Associated with frontal lobes, septal nuclei, brainstem reticular formation, hippocampus, thalamus. It regulates autonomic processes.
  • Mamillary bodies: Part of the hypothalamus that receives signals from the hippocampus via the fornix. It sends a signal to the thalamus.
  • Anterior nuclei of the thalamus : Mamiller receives data from bodies, is responsible for memory processing.
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Hipokampus

The hippocampus, like many other structures in the brain, exists in pairs, one in each hemisphere of the brain. It resembles a curled sea horse in shape, and takes its name from the Latin genus name of sea horses. It is the center in our brain responsible for memory. Here, segmental memory is formed and sorted for storage in other parts of the cerebral cortex.

Connections in the hippocampus help associate memories with various senses. It is also important in spatial orientation and navigation.

The hippocampus is a place in the brain where new neurons arise from adult stem cells. This phenomenon is called neurogenesis and is one of the mechanisms of brain plasticity . It is not surprising that the hippocampus is one of the key places in learning new things.

Amigdala

The amygdala is an almond-shaped structure. It is located right next to the hippocampus. There are also two, right and left. Pleasure plays a central role in emotional responses such as fear, anxiety, and anger. It associates memories with emotions, thus determining how strongly they will be retained. Memories with strong emotional meanings are more permanent.

The amygdala plays a key role in regulating the durability and emotional content of memories, as well as forming new fear-related memories. Terrible memories may form after just a few repetitions. Therefore, fear recall is a popular topic that focuses on when investigating the mechanisms of memory formation, reinforcement, and recall. Suppression or activation of amygdala activity affects the body’s automatic fear response. New anti-anxiety drugs are being investigated through receptors in the amygdala. New neurons have also been shown to form in the amygdala.

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