The caudate nucleus is a cluster of gray matter in the brain that located under the corpus callosum lateral to the thalamus, which, along with the putamen and globus pallidus, comprises the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia participates in the organization of voluntary motor behaviour by translating commands from the prefrontal cortex into muscle actions. Lesions in this region of the brain can yield difficulty beginning, continuing, or stopping motion; rigidity of muscle; or involuntary movement.

The receptors in the caudate nucleus have been implicated in the symptoms of several neurological disorders, including Huntington's chorea, Parkinson's disease, Tourette's syndrome, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Huntington's chorea is often diagnosed by the loss of the caudate nucleus's characteristic bulge into the surrounding brain tissue, indicating a loss of tissue in this region. Parkinson's disease is characterized by a loss of receptors in the caudate nucleus. Tourette's syndrome has a high correlation with a heightened binding in dopamine receptors in this region, which may be related to the compulsive tic of the disorder. OCD often involves a high level of anxiety, which is cued by flawed signal interpretation by the caudate nucleus. The size and symmetry of the region have been implicated in ADHD, with asymmetrical brains and smaller basal ganglia regions being more likely to occur in those patients with the disorder.

The caudate nucleus is also involved in the hyperkinetic response caused by cocaine and other opiates, due to the high number of dopamine receptors located in the area (opiates bind to dopamine receptors). It has been termed one of the "reward areas", the locations of the brain that yield the pleasurable "high" sensation.

Sources: GANGLIA

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