Medical Definition of Basal nuclei

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

Basal nuclei: A region located at the base of the brain composed of 4 clusters of neurons, or nerve cells. This area of the brain is responsible for body movement and coordination.

The groups of neurons most prominently and consistently affected in Huntington disease -- the pallidum and striatum -- are located in the basal nuclei.

(The pallidum is composed of structures called the globus pallidus and the ventral pallidum while the striatum consists of the caudate nucleus, putamen, and ventral striatum.)

The basal nuclei are also called the basal ganglia. The term "basal" refers to the location of these collections of neurons (nuclei or ganglia) deep within the brain, seemingly at its very base.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018