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The limbic system subserves basic survival functions that include feeding behavior, “fight-or-flight” responses, aggression, and the expressions of emotion and of the autonomic, behavioral, and endocrine aspects of the sexual response. It includes phylogenetically ancient portions of the cerebral cortex, related subcortical structures, and fiber pathways that connect with the diencephalon and brain stem (Tables 19–1 and 19–2).

Table 19–1 Components of the Limbic System and Neocortex.
Table 19–2 Major Limbic System Connections.

The limbic system receives input from many parts of the cortex and contains multimodal association areas where various aspects of sensory experience come together to form a single experience. The hippocampus, within the limbic system, plays crucial roles in spatial problem solving and in memory.

The limbic lobe was so named because this cortical complex forms a limbus (border) between the diencephalon and the more lateral neocortex of the telencephalic hemispheres (Fig 19–1). This limbic lobe consists of a ring of cortex outside the corpus callosum, largely made up of the subcallosal and cingulate gyri as well as the parahippocampal gyrus (Fig 19–2).

Figure 19–1

Schematic illustration of the location of the limbic system between the diencephalon and the neocortical hemispheres.

Figure 19–2

Schematic illustration of the concentric main components of the limbic sytem.

More recent authorities revised the concept of the limbic lobe and refer to the limbic system, which includes the functionally interrelated limbic lobe (parahippocampal, cingulate, and subcallosal gyri), the amygdala, and the hippocampal formation and associated structures (see Table 19–1). The hippocampal formation (a more primitive cortical complex) is situated even closer to the diencephalon and is folded and rolled inward so that it is submerged below the parahippocampal gyrus. The hippocampal formation consists of the hippocampus (Ammon's horn); the dentate gyrus; the supracallosal gyrus (also termed the indusium griseum), which is the gray matter on top of the corpus callosum; the fornix; and a primitive precommissural area ...

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