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You are watching: The lateral geniculate nucleus (lgn) acts as

StatPearls . Treacertain Island also (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-.



The lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) belongs to the category of sensory projection nuclei of the thalamus and plays a vital role in normal visual handling. The lateral geniculate nucleus has generally dispersed connectivity projecting to various areas of the extrastriate cortex and receiving input from the very same and also from hindbrain and also other midbrain structures. It is situated in the posteroventral area of the thalamic nuclei, automatically abutting the pulvinar and also posterior to the inferior choroidal point of the choroid plexus. The nucleus" name is from its lateral position family member to the medial geniculate nucleus and the sharp bend (Latin geniculum, "joint") of its laminae.

Structure and Function

The basis of the framework of the lateral geniculate nucleus is largely in regards to its three distinctive cell types: magnocellular (M), parvocellular (P), and also koniocellular (K). P and M cells are arranged in 6 different layers (four dorsal P layers and two ventral M layers), with retinal ganglion signals from the ipsilateral eye synapsing on layers 2, 3, and also 5, and signals from the contralateral eye synapsing on layers 1, 4, and 6. M cells in the LGN get input from the large-field, motion-sensitive Y-kind retinal ganglion cells, while P cells get input from the small-area, color-sensitive X-kind retinal ganglion cells. Koniocellular cells task into areas ventral to each of the P and also M laminae.

The lateral geniculate nucleus is additionally the point of origin for the optic radiations (Meyer"s loop, central bundle, and also Baum’s loop) that project via the internal capsule to the major visual cortex (V1), mainly synapsing onto spiny stellate neurons in layers 4C-alpha and also 4C-beta. Analysis of LGN-dependent fMRI task in non-V1 extrastriate cortex argues that the LGN additionally tasks to regions even more downstream in the visual pathway (e.g., V2-5).<1> While the LGN receives considerable input from the retinal ganglia, it receives far better innervation from higher-order areas, such as modulatory feedearlier from layer 6 of V1 and also the thalamic reticular nucleus.<2> It also receives varying degrees of modulatory task from the raphe nuclei (serotonergic),<3> pedunculopontine and laterodorsal tegpsychological nuclei (cholinergic),<4> and also locus coeruleus (noradrenergic).<5>

The extracellular matrix of the lateral geniculate nucleus is characterized by a lessened existence of the conventional aggrecan-based matrix phenokind, perineuronal nets. It rather screens a high thickness of axonal coats, a related structure through a more localized matrix at dendrites, suggesting a different business strategy maybe specialized for quick sensory processing.<6><7>

The lateral geniculate nucleus likewise has a distinct section between its dorsal and ventral areas known as the intergeniculate leaflet (IGL). The IGL tasks to the suprachiasmatic nuclei of the hypothalamus via the geniculohypothalamic tract and to the pineal gland also through the geniculopineal tract, implicating the LGN in the modulation of circadian/diurnal rhythms.<8><9><10>

Historically, the lateral geniculate nucleus was highlighted for its role as bit even more than a signal repeater, following the early on conclusions of Glees and LeGros Clark, that suggested that "... the geniculate cells probably serve the single function of a relay in between the retinal fibers and the visual cortex."<11> However, subsequent research study has argued a much more complicated account of LGN function, including attentional modulation, tempdental decorrelation, and binocular facilitation or suppression using monocular gain modulation.<12><13><14><15> Additionally, some research study has said that a subpopulation of K cells in the LGN demonstrate selective sensitivity to stimulus orientation comparable to V1 cells.<16>


Early breakthrough of the lateral geniculate nucleus characteristically demonstrates heightened retinogeniculate synaptogenesis (as beforehand as 13 weeks of gestation) followed by the subsequent advance of corticogeniculate connectivity. However, the structural development of retinogeniculate projections (without synapse formation) occurs as beforehand as 7 weeks.<17> A instrumental duration of boosted cell metabolism and synapse breakthrough occurs at 15 to 20 weeks.<18> By the finish of this period, retinogeniculate projections to the LGN have emerged eye-certain segregation.<19> The advance of the LGN’s laminar structure occurs at approximately 22 to 25 weeks, start via the ventral aspect (the magnocellular layers).<20> The later on lamination of the LGN says that this process is a duty of retinal task. This principle receives better assistance from the finding in pet researches that interrupting retinogeniculate segregation severely disrupts the advance of LGN"s laminar company.<21>

Blood Supply and also Lymphatics

The posterior cerebral artery gives the lateral geniculate nucleus from the lateral posterior choroidal branch and by the internal carotid artery from its anterior choroidal branch.<22>


Evidence from multiple sources suggests that oculomotor-induced signals to the lateral geniculate nucleus are used to suppress retinal signals throughout saccades and facilitate the very same signals instantly thereafter.<23>

Physiologic Variants

Structural variation in the lateral geniculate nucleus have the right to take place using divergent development of or succeeding damages to upstream structures in the visual pathway. Strabismic amblyopia, the irreversible reduction of visual acuity due to abnormal development in the eyes’ alignment, is connected via a far-ranging decrease in LGN gray matter density despite normal advancement various other significant neural areas in the visual pathway.<24> Damage to the optic nerve because of primary open-angle glaucoma can similarly induce atrophy in the LGN commensuprice through the degree of condition severity.<25><26> Some animal research additionally argues that a lack of input from the visual cortical areas can induce cell fatality sharing many type of attributes of apoptosis.<27>

Surgical Considerations

Rearea of intraventricular meningiomas may pose a greater risk of postoperative ischemia to the lateral geniculate nucleus due to the proximity of the choroidal arteries, the supply of which may incorporate into the tumor.<28>

Clinical Significance

Lesions in the lateral geniculate nucleus, such as those brought about by arteriovenous malformations, deserve to create contralateral homonymous hemianopias and quadrantanopias indicating specific impacted laminar subareas through distinct vulnercapability to the macular region provided its disproportionate representational region.<29> Given the location of the LGN in the visual pathmethod and also the dual, differential blood supply to the medial and also lateral portions of the nucleus, it is possible to recognize the specific arterial reason of such a lesion based on the presenting visual field defect.<22> Due to downstream projections to the suprachiasmatic nucleus, the insult of the LGN might likewise disrupt the effects of stimuli that mostly modulate circadian rhythm.<30>

The lateral geniculate nucleus is among the many thalamic nuclei that present considerable alterations in individuals with spinocerebellar ataxia form 2 (and also probably kind 3), consisting of astrocytosis, loss of neuronal bodies, and also boosted levels of lipofuscin.

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For people diagnosed through blindsight due to a lesion of the primary visual cortex, the LGN plays a critical function in mediating visually relevant indevelopment that is listed below the level of conscious awareness.<1>