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Brain: Mesencephalon
Diagram depicting the main subdivisions of the embryonic vertebrate brain. These regions will later differentiate into forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain structures.
Latin mesencephalon
Gray's subject #188 800
NeuroNames hier-445
MeSH Mesencephalon
Horizontal section through midbrain

The mesencephalon or midbrain is a part of the brain stem.[1] It is associated with vision, hearing, motor control, sleep/wake, arousal (alertness), and temperature regulation.[2]

In the anatomy of developing animals, the brain forms from the neural tube, which turns into three vesicles. The mesencephalon (midbrain) is the middle vesicle, and becomes part of the brain stem.

The mesencephalon is ancient in origin, meaning its general architecture is shared with the most ancient of vertebrates. Dopamine produced in the substantia nigra plays a role in motivation and habituation of species from humans to insects.

References[change | change source]

  1. Mosby’s Medical, nursing and allied health dictionary. 4th ed, Mosby-Year Book 1994. p981
  2. Breedlove, Watson, & Rosenzweig 2010. Biological psychology. 6th ed. 45-46