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
TA A14.1.08.104
FMA 62178
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.

Clinical significance[edit]

Lesions of the pulvinar can result in neglect syndromes and attentional deficits.[6]

Other animals[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.[7] Significant research has been undertaken in the marmoset examining the role of the retinorecipient region of the inferior pulvinar (medial subdivision), which projects to visual cortical area MT, in the early development of MT and the dorsal stream, as well as following early-life lesions of the primary visual cortex (V1).[8][9][10]


  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. ^ Arend, I., Rafal, R., & Ward, R. (2008). Spatial and temporal deficits are regionally dissociable in patients with pulvinar lesions. Brain, 131(8), 2140-2152.
  7. ^ 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
  8. ^ Warner CE, Kwan WC, Bourne JA (2012). "The early maturation of visual cortical area MT is dependent on input from the retinorecipient medial portion of the inferior pulvinar". Journal of Neuroscience 32 (48): 17073–17085. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3269-12.2012. PMID 23197701. 
  9. ^ Warner CE, Goldshmit Y, Bourne JA (2010). "Retinal afferents synapse with relay cells targeting the middle temporal area in the pulvinar and lateral geniculate nuclei". Front Neuroanat 12 (8): 4–24. doi:10.3389/neuro.05.008.2010. PMID 20179789. 
  10. ^ Warner CE, Kwan WC, Wright D, Johnston LA, Egan GF, Bourne JA (2015). "Preservation of vision by the pulvinar following early-life primary visual cortex lesions". Curr Biol 25 (4): 424–434. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2014.12.028. PMID 25601551. 

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