Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

The thalamic paradox

Most thalamic research has focused on sensory transmission. Now three independent groups reveal the thalamus to be critical in behaviors linked to frontal cortex and the maintenance of persistent cortical activity during delays.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Get just this article for as long as you need it


Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Changing view of thalamus.


  1. Gross, C. in A Hole in the Head 77–117 (The MIT Press, 2009).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  2. Fritsch, G.T. & Hitzig, E. in Some Papers on the Cerebral Cortex (Thomas, C.C., ed.) (Springfield, 1870).

    Google Scholar 

  3. Jones, E.G. The Thalamus (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2007).

    Google Scholar 

  4. Rovó, Z., Ulbert, I. & Acsády, L. J. Neurosci. 32, 17894–17908 (2012).

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  5. Guo, Z.V. et al. Nature 545, 181–186 (2017).

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  6. Schmitt, L.I. et al. Nature 545, 219–223 (2017).

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  7. Bolkan, S.S. et al. Nat. Neurosci. 20, 987–996 (2017).

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  8. Steriade, M., Jones, E.G. & McCormick, D.A. in Thalamus Vol. 1, 393–533 (Elsevier, 1997).

    Google Scholar 

  9. Romo, R. & Salinas, E. Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 4, 203–218 (2003).

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Latimer, K.W., Yates, J.L., Meister, M.L.R., Huk, A.C. & Pillow, J.W. Science 349, 184–187 (2015).

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  11. Churchland, M.M., Cunningham, J.P., Kaufman, M.T., Ryu, S.I. & Shenoy, K.V. Neuron 68, 387–400 (2010).

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  12. Constantinidis, C. & Klingberg, T. Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 17, 438–449 (2016).

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Halassa, M.M. & Acsády, L. Trends Neurosci. 39, 680–693 (2016).

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  14. Clascá, F., Porrero, C., Galazo, M.J., Rubio-Garrido, P., & Evangelio, M. in Axons and Brain Architecture (Rockland, K., ed.) 69–92 (Elsevier, 2015).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to László Acsády.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The author declares no competing financial interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Acsády, L. The thalamic paradox. Nat Neurosci 20, 901–902 (2017).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing