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What is the Cerebral Peduncle?

By Meshell Powell
Updated Feb 26, 2024
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The cerebral peduncle is a structure located in the middle portion of the brain. It consists of a bundle of nerve fibers that pass over the surface of the midbrain. This occurs on both sides of the midline, and the cerebral peduncle is responsible for connecting the hindbrain to the forebrain.

Technically speaking, the cerebral peduncle includes everything that is located in the mesencephalon, with the exception of the tectum. The mesencephalon is the medical term for the midbrain. The nerve fibers arising from this area work to connect this part of the brain to the other parts. Because of this, the cerebral peduncle is a crucial part of the central nervous system.

The cerebral peduncle is a paired structure and is found on the front side of the cerebral aqueduct. This aquduct is used to drain cerebrospinal fluid from parts of the midbrain. The cerebral peduncle also works to carry tegmentum throughout this area of the brain. The tegmentum helps the body to control motor functions and works to regulate attention and awareness.

The cerebral peduncles are shaped like cylinders and are situated at the base of the brain. For the most part, these structures are hidden by part of the cerebrum known as the temporal lobes. These lobes must be pushed aside in order to see the peduncles clearly.

The inner, or middle, parts of the cerebral peduncle carry what is commonly referred to as black matter. The correct term for this black matter is substantia nigra. This black matter helps to regulate mood, produces the chemical known as dopamine, and helps to control voluntary movement. It is interesting to note that this is the only area of the brain that contains the pigment known as melanin.

The interpeduncular fossa are found between the cerebral peduncles. These are basically just deep triangle-shaped depressions that are found between the cerebral peduncles. This fossa is filled with a substance known as cerebrospinal fluid. Also located between the cerebral peduncles is the oculomotor nerve. This nerve is responsible for controlling most of the movement of the eyes.

When lesions develop on one or both of the cerebral peduncles, many symptoms may begin to present themselves. Some of these symptoms include recurrent headaches and persistent numbness throughout the body. These, or any other noticeable changes, should be reported to a medical professional right away in order to assure proper diagnosis and treatment.

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Discussion Comments
By shanti25 — On Sep 06, 2014

I had a cerebral peduncle stroke about three years ago during two migraines. I didn't go to a neurologist until I realized that I still had three fingers and three toes that were still numb after three months. It was diagnosed by an MRI. Lately I have come to realize that my lack of balance and dropping things might be related to the stroke. Are there any other symptoms that I can expect to develop and what are the chances of it happening again?

By Izzy78 — On Sep 12, 2011

@Emilski - In my biology class, we just got done dissecting a sheep brain, so I still have all of this fresh in my mind.

Grey matter is typically found around the outside of the brain, and white matter is on the inside. The difference in color is because of the different types of cells that make them up. For the most part, though, they have their own functions, but there isn't really a huge different in texture or anything. Black matter is in the middle section of the brain, like the article mentions. If you ever look at an MRI or some other type of brain scan, you can clearly see the black section in the middle.

Unfortunately in class we never really talked about what could go wrong with the different parts of the brain, which is what really interests me. The cerebral peduncle is involved in motor skills, too, so I wonder if somehow it is involved in Parkinson's Disease or something else like that.

By Emilski — On Sep 12, 2011

What is the difference between all of the different brain matter colors? I knew there was grey matter and white matter. Now I am seeing that there is black matter, as well. Are there any more colors I should know about? Is there black matter anywhere else in the brain or just in the cerebral peduncle?

Are the cerebral peduncles mainly just to regulate mood, or do they have more of a nervous system function? From this article, it sounds like they function more like glands. Since problems with the peduncles can cause headaches and numbness, I would assume they have some type of connection with the rest of our nerves.

By titans62 — On Sep 11, 2011

How do lesions form on the cerebral peduncle? It sounds like a very scary situation. Can it happen naturally, or does there have to be some kind of trauma to the head? I wonder if there are any other problems that would cause the same problems as the lesions, and cause an incorrect diagnosis.

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