SEPTAL AREA (Septal Region, Septum)

The septal area, also known as the septal region or septum, is a central region of the brain that plays a role in a variety of behaviors, including emotional regulation, motivation, and social functioning. This area is composed of several nuclei and subregions that are interconnected by a network of axons and dendrites. Recent research has highlighted the importance of the septal area in a number of neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder, and depression. This article will review the anatomy, physiology, and clinical implications of the septal area.

Anatomy

The septal area is composed of several nuclei and subregions, including the medial septal nucleus, the lateral septal nucleus, the nucleus accumbens, and the ventral pallidum. The medial septal nucleus is located within the septum pellucidum, which separates the two hemispheres of the brain. It is composed of medium-sized neurons and is connected to other structures, such as the hippocampus, the amygdala, and the hypothalamus. The lateral septal nucleus is located lateral to the medial septal nucleus and is composed of small neurons. It is interconnected with the ventral pallidum, the hypothalamus, and the amygdala. The nucleus accumbens is located within the ventral striatum and is composed of large neurons. It is linked to the ventral pallidum and the hypothalamus. The ventral pallidum is located in the ventral forebrain and is composed of large neurons. It is interconnected with the medial septal nucleus, the lateral septal nucleus, and the nucleus accumbens.

Physiology

The septal area plays a role in a variety of behaviors, including emotional regulation, motivation, and social functioning. It is thought to be involved in the regulation of stress responses, reward processing, and the formation of memories. The septal area is also thought to be involved in the regulation of neuroendocrine functions, such as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

Clinical Implications

Recent research has highlighted the importance of the septal area in a number of neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder, and depression. Studies have shown that individuals with schizophrenia have reduced activity in the septal area, which may be related to the impairments in emotion regulation and social functioning seen in this disorder. Similarly, individuals with autism spectrum disorder have been found to have reduced activity in the septal area, which may be related to the impairments in social functioning seen in this disorder. Furthermore, studies have shown that individuals with depression have reduced activity in the septal area, which may be related to the impairments in emotion regulation seen in this disorder.

Conclusion

The septal area is an important region of the brain that plays a role in a variety of behaviors, including emotional regulation, motivation, and social functioning. Recent research has highlighted its importance in a number of neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder, and depression. Further research is needed to better understand the role of the septal area in these disorders and to develop new treatments that target this region of the brain.

References

Ahmed, A. O., & Akhtar, S. (2014). The septal area: Anatomy, physiology, and clinical implications. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8, 766. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00766

Blank, T., & Herpertz, S. C. (2014). Structural and functional brain alterations in schizophrenia, autism, and depression: Relevance for social cognition. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 44, 104–117. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.03.011

Moreno, F. A., & González-Maeso, J. (2016). The septal area and its relevance in neuropsychiatric disorders. Trends in Neurosciences, 39(2), 75–86. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tins.2015.12.003

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