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Internal capsule

German: Capsula interna

1 Definition

The internal capsule is part of the cerebrum (telencephalon). Its medial limit is the caudate nucleus and the thalamus. Lateral to the internal capsule lie the putamen and pallidum.

The internal capsule consists of white matter, it contains important fiber bundles running from the cerebral cortex to pons, medulla oblongata and spinal cord.

2 Categorization

The internal capsule can be macroscopically divided into:

The genu of the internal capsule is situated between the two limbs.

2.1 Anterior limb

2.2 Genu capsulae internae

  • Descending fibers: nerve fibers running from the cerebral cortex to cranial nerve nuclei
  • Ascending fibers: none

2.3 Posterior limb

  • Descending fibers: corticospinal tract which later becomes the pyramidal tract; temporopontine fibers
  • Ascending fibers: part of the thalamocortical radiation (fibers from the thalamus to somato-sensory areas of the cortex; from the thalamus to the temporal and occipital lobes), optic and acoustic radiations.

3 Blood supply

The anterior limb of the internal capsule is supplied by the arteria centralis longa and the anteromedial central arteries from the anterior cerebral artery. The genu is supplied by the central anterolateral arteries which come from the middle cerebral artery. The posterior limb is part of an area supplied by the anterior choroidal artery (from the internal carotid artery).

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