Central Nervous System

I. Embryonic Development

Primary Vesicle

Secondary Vesicle

Adult structure




Cerebrum (cerebral cortex, white matter and basalnuclei)

Diencephalon (thalamus, epithalamus, and hypothalamus)

Mesencephalon Mesencephalon Brain stem (midbrain)
Rhombencephalon Metencephalon


Brain stem (pons) and Cerebellum

Brain stem (medulla oblongata)

Posterior Neural Tube   Spinal cord

II. Regions and Organization of the Brain

A. Ventricles of Brain Diagram Diagram

B. Cerebral Hemispheres Diagram

C. Cerebral Cortex

D. Functional Areas Diagram

i. Motor Areas (posterior part of the frontal lobes)

ii. SensoryAreas (parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes)

iii. AssociationAreas

E. Matter and Nuclei

i. Cerebral White Matter Diagram

ii. Basal Nuclei Diagram

F. Diencephalon (thalamus, hypothalamus, and epithalamus) Diagram

G. Brain Stem (midbrain, pons, medulla oblongata ) 

NOTE: brainstem contains grey matter surrounded by white matter; centers of brain stem regulate autonomic behaviors (head and eye movements, respiration, heart contraction, etc...)

H. Cerebellum Diagram Diagram

I. Functional Brain Systems (limbic and reticular)

NOTE: Functional brain systems are networks of neurons that work together but span large distances within the brain

i. Limbic System - complex group of fiber tracts and grey matter areas Diagram

ii. Reticular Formation - loosely clustered neurons localized into three broad columns along the length of the brain stem

III. Protection of the Brain

NOTE: Brain is protected by skull, membranes (meninges), cerebrospinal fluid, and blood-brain barrier.

A. Meninges - connective tissue membranes external to CNS Diagram

B. CerebrospinalFluid - liquid cushion surrounding brain & spinal cord

C. Blood-brain Barrier

IV. Spinal Cord Anatomy

A. Protection and Coverings

B. External Anatomy of Spinal Cord Diagram Diagram

C. Interior Anatomy of the Spinal Cord Diagram