Over the next 2 years, CNS Spectrums will be publishing a series of articles on neuroanatomy. The purpose of these articles is to broaden knowledge and interest in neuroanatomy, with a special reference to some key brain structures that are important for neuropsychiatry. Interest in nuclear structures and hodology, in connectivity and circuitry between brain regions, and in neurochemical associations has increased in the last 3 decades due to new neuroanatomical staining methods, brain imaging, and new treatments, such as deep brain stimulation.These columns will enliven an understanding of the clinical neuroscience interface but also provide a solid framework of contemporary neuroanatomy for psychiatrists and neurologists.
The first in the series reviews the ventral striatum. Henk J. Groenewegen, MD, PhD, in a column dedicated to the late Lennart Heimer, MD, reveals the importance of this structure and its connectivity for a contemporary understanding of brain-behavior relationships. In earlier conceptions, the basal ganglia were solely related to motor function, uninvolved with emotion or cognition. This conception arose from a misunderstanding of basic neuroanatomy, which has been unravelled by careful neuroanatomical studies in the last 30 years with new tissue staining and tracing techniques.The basal ganglia are the main target structures of the limbic system, hence the motion in emotion.