At the base of the brain, there are right and left mammilary bodies. These also go by their Latinate name, corpus mammilare. Each takes a round and smooth shape, and they are part of the limbic system. Each mammilary body joins the pretectum, thalamus and other parts as the greater diencephalon part of the brain. These bodies are connected directly to the brain, and they relay impulses to the thalamus. The overall route, from the amygdalae to the thalamus, is often referred to as the Papez circuit. Along with the dorsomedial and anterior nuclei of the thalamus, each mammilary body plays in active role in how recognitional memory is processed. Some believe the bodies add sensory smell detail to stored memories. Memory loss could result from damage to either mammilary body, and this could also include some amnesic symptoms. Typically, damage results from prolonged thiamine shortages in the body. Some symptoms and complications of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome may also play a role.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: Mamillary Bodies