Diencephalon and telencephalon are two major divisions present in the human forebrain, also known as prosencephalon. Diencephalon is also referred to as the interbrain, while telencephalon is known as the cerebrum. The interbrain is a part of the vertebrate neural tube and is responsible for giving rise to posterior forebrain structures. Hypothalamus, epithalamus, subthalamus and thalamus are the structures that form the interbrain. The diencephalon is responsible for controlling many functions of the peripheral nervous system and mostly these functions are automatic in nature. It is also responsible for relaying sensory information between various brain parts.
Structure of Diencephalon
The diencephalon consists of four structures as discussed above, however the thalamus and the hypothalamus are the two main structures. The thalamus is a two-lobed structure and it is present at the upper part of the brain stem. Massa intermedia running through the ventricle is responsible for joining the two lobes. Several nuclei pairs are present in the thalamus such as the medial geniculate nuclei, the ventral posterior nuclei and the lateral geniculate nuclei and all of these are responsible for relaying sensory information. The thalamus basically controls all the functions of the cortex and it can be described as its processing center. Another important function of the thalamus is that it is very closely related to the affectual expression. Now we will discuss about the second main structure of the diencephalon i.e. the hypothalamus which lies below the thalamus. Several motivated behaviors are controlled and regulated by the hypothalamus and it is also responsible for regulating the release of hormone secreted by the pituitary gland. Optic chiasm and mammilary bodies are two important structures that are found on its inner surface. The hypothalamus is extremely important as it controls the body temperate and the endocrine function along with regulating the parasympathetic activity. It is also commonly known as the integration center of our automatic nervous system.
The diencephalon is an important body structure as it is responsible for several functions throughout our body. The most important function is the directing of sense impulses in various parts of our body. It plays an important role in controlling both autonomic and endocrine function. It also regulates our hearing, vision, taste and smell and as well as regulates our touch perception. The diencephalon controls the motor function and is also responsible for homeostasis.