Globus pallidus, anatomy and function

Alexander Pearson
Globus pallidus, anatomy and function

The globe pallidus is a fundamental structure in our brain. It is part of the basal ganglia, a group of nuclei that interconnect with each other on both sides of the thalamus and that have many functions, such as regulating and controlling movement. Today we will talk about this interesting region that inhabits the brain and thanks to which, we can move naturally.


  • What is the pale balloon?
  • Globus pallidus anatomy
  • Functions of the globe pallidus
  • Globus pallus disorders

What is the pale balloon?

The globe pallidus is a brain region found deep within the forebrain. This structure, which is also often called paleoestriate, is part of the telencephalon, although it is closely related to the diencephalon, regions that are part of the extrapyramidal motor system, a system whose function is to regulate involuntary movements..

The globus pallidus is part of the basal ganglia, together with the striatum, composed of the caudate nucleus and the putamen, the nucleus accumbens, the substantia nigra and the subthalamic nucleus. This structure maintains connections with structures such as the thalamus or the substantia nigra. In addition, it is considered that the globe pallidus forms the lenticular nucleus next to the putamen, sending nerve information from the striatum to the thalamus and whose functions are translated into the regulation of motor skills, the achievement of automatic movements, postural control, procedural learning or motivation.

Globus pallidus anatomy

The pale globe is a sphere-shaped structure that has a whitish color and is divided into two adjacent segments:

  • The internal pale globe -> whose projections come from the striatum, composed of the caudate nucleus and the putamen and go towards the thalamus, a structure that in turn sends information to the prefrontal cortex.
  • The external globe pallidus -> Connected to the subthalamic nucleus, it also receives inputs from the corpus striatum, although to a lesser extent than the internal globe pale.

This area is made up of a mass of gray matter made up of neuronal bodies, dendrites without myelin, and neuroglia, and its name refers to the pale color given by the myelinated axons that pass through this structure, making it look like white matter. The globus pallidus contains many GABAergic neurons, especially in the outer region that acts alongside the subthalamic nucleus..

Functions of the globe pallidus

The main function of the pale globe is the regulation of voluntary movements that both people and animals emit. The globe pallidus manages to inhibit the excitation of the cerebellum to create balanced and stable movements through this game of excitation and inhibition between the two structures. Like the rest of the basal ganglia, this structure acts involuntarily and is involved in processes that we manage to achieve in an unconscious way, such as walking or maintaining posture and balance..

Globus pallus disorders

Due to its function in the regulation of movement, a disorder or problem that affects this structure will consequently cause difficulties in movement. This can lead to a slowing down of this movement or the appearance of involuntary movements, such as tremors..

Sometimes, clinically, this structure is deliberately injured in order to calm the involuntary tremors that people can suffer. This occurs, specifically, during Parkinson's disease. This disease affects dopaminergic nerve cells causing damage to the basal ganglia, including the globe pallus. It is then that involuntary movements such as these tremors occur, in addition to losing precision and coordination in voluntary movements. A deficit in the control of voluntary movement, as well as a slowing of movement, is usually a direct cause of damage to the globe pallidus. In Parkinson's disease the globe pallidus is hyperactive, as a result of this, people have a lack of muscle control in which the muscles become stiff, in addition to trembling. It is then when an intervention is usually indicated in which this structure would be damaged to reduce its hyperactivity..

During Huntington's disease, an inherited disease that causes damage to brain neurons, the globe pallidus also presents this neuronal loss causing abnormal and uncontrollable movements in different regions of the body, showing, once again, the important role that this small structure, shaped like a balloon, it has to get us to establish an adequate movement and therefore a better survival.

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