Pulvinar nuclei

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Pulvinar nuclei
Hind- and mid-brains; postero-lateral view. (Pulvinar visible near top.)
Latin pulvinar thalami, nuclei pulvinaris
MeSH A08.186.211.730.385.826.701.485.600
NeuroNames hier-311
NeuroLex ID Pulvinar
Anatomical terms of neuroanatomy

The pulvinar nuclei (nuclei pulvinaris) are a collection of nuclei located in the pulvinar thalamus.

The pulvinar is usually grouped as one of the lateral thalamic nuclei in rodents and carnivores, and stands as an independent complex in primates. The word is derived from the Latin pulvinus for "cushion". In Ancient Roman religion a pulvinar was an "empty throne" or cushioned couch for occupation by a deity.


By convention, it is divided into anterior, inferior, lateral, and medial subdivisions, each containing multiple nuclei.

  • The lateral and inferior pulvinar have widespread connections with early visual cortical areas.
  • The pulvinar also has input from the superior colliculus to inferior, lateral and medial sections, which seems to be important in the initiation and compensation of saccade,[2][3] as well as the regulation of visual attention[4][5]

Species variation[edit]

The pulvinar varies in importance in different animals: it is virtually nonexistent in the rat, and grouped as the lateral posterior-pulvinar complex with the lateral posterior thalamic nucleus due to its small size in cats. In humans it makes up roughly 40% of the thalamus making it the largest of its nuclei.[6]


Lesions of the pulvinar can result in neglect syndromes and attentional deficits.[7]


  1. ^ C. Cappe, A. Morel, P. Barone & E.M. Rouiller (2009). The thalamocortical projection systems in primate: an anatomical support for multisensory and sensorimotor interplay. Cerebral Cortex, 19(9), 2025-2037
  2. ^ Berman, R., & Wurtz, R. (2011). Signals conveyed in the pulvinar pathway from superior colliculus to cortical area mt. The Journal of Neuroscience, 31(2), 373-384.
  3. ^ Robinson, D., & Petersen, S. (1985). Responses of pulvinar neurons to real and self-induced stimulus movement. Brain research, 338(2), 392-394.
  4. ^ Petersen, S., Robinson, D., & Morris, J. (1987). Contributions of the pulvinar to visual spatial attention. Neuropsychologia, 25(1), 97-105.
  5. ^ Chalupa, L. (1991). Visual function of the pulvinar. The Neural Basis of Visual Function. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, pp. 140-159.
  6. ^ LaBerge, D. (1999). Attention pp. 44-98. In Cognitive science (Handbook of Perception and Cognition, Second Edition), Bly BM, Rumelhart DE. (edits). Academic Press ISBN 978-0-12-601730-4 p. 73
  7. ^ Arend, I., Rafal, R., & Ward, R. (2008). Spatial and temporal deficits are regionally dissociable in patients with pulvinar lesions. Brain, 131(8), 2140-2152.

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