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.