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Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 2004 Aug;46(1):1-31.

The thalamic reticular nucleus: structure, function and concept.

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1
Laboratoire d'anatomo-électrophysiologie cellulaire et intégrée, INSERM U405, psychopathologie et pharmacologie de la cognition Faculté de Médecine, 11 rue Humann, F-67085 Strasbourg, France. pinault@neurochem.u-strasbg.fr

Abstract

On the basis of theoretical, anatomical, psychological and physiological considerations, Francis Crick (1984) proposed that, during selective attention, the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) controls the internal attentional searchlight that simultaneously highlights all the neural circuits called on by the object of attention. In other words, he submitted that during either perception, or the preparation and execution of any cognitive and/or motor task, the TRN sets all the corresponding thalamocortical (TC) circuits in motion. Over the last two decades, behavioural, electrophysiological, anatomical and neurochemical findings have been accumulating, supporting the complex nature of the TRN and raising questions about the validity of this speculative hypothesis. Indeed, our knowledge of the actual functioning of the TRN is still sprinkled with unresolved questions. Therefore, the time has come to join forces and discuss some recent cellular and network findings concerning this diencephalic GABAergic structure, which plays important roles during various states of consciousness. On the whole, the present critical survey emphasizes the TRN's complexity, and provides arguments combining anatomy, physiology and cognitive psychology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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