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The Limbic System 

The Limbic System
The Limbic System
Mayo Clinic Neurology Board Review

Kelly D. Flemming

and Eduardo E. Benarroch


The limbic “lobe” is not a well-defined lobe like other areas of the cortex. The term limbic system is also a misnomer because the “system” involves several cortical and subcortical structures. The cortical areas include the insular cortex, the cingulate gyrus, the parahippocampal gyrus, and the hippocampus. The subcortical structures include the amygdala, the nucleus accumbens (ventral or “limbic” striatum), the septal nuclei, the dorsomedial and anterior nuclei of the thalamus, and the hypothalamus. Brainstem components include the periaqueductal gray matter and the monoaminergic nuclei (in particular, dopaminergic neurons of the ventral tegmental area).

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