The hypothalamus and thalamus are the major parts of the motor system that lie within the diencephalon. The motor functions of the hypothalamus are discussed in Section II.A. The thalamus does not serve a primarily motor function when viewed as a whole. However, a major component of the thalamus receives projections from the cerebellum and basal ganglia, which play an important role in motor control. Two general regions of the thalamus receive these inputs—the ventroan-terior and ventrolateral (VA/VL) nuclei. Anterior VA/ VL receives basal ganglia projections; posterior VA/ VL receives cerebellar input. Each part of VA/VL sends excitatory projections to the frontal cortex and receives excitatory projections from the same cortical areas. These reciprocal connections are thought to act as recurrent cortical-thalamic modules. Although the thalamic terminals from cerebellum and basal ganglia overlap very little, the thalamocortical components of these systems converge to influence most if not all motor areas jointly.



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