Impacted Brain Regions in Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s disease causes gradual damage to a vital brain structure known as the ‘basal ganglia.’ This structure, about the size of a gumball, resides at the brain’s centre and is crucial for controlling our body’s voluntary movements. The basal ganglia is a network of specific structures, including the caudate nucleus, globus pallidus, putamen, substantia nigra pars reticulata, subthalamic nucleus, and ventral pallidum. These components work together, forming connections among nerve cells (neurons) that regulate our body’s movements. The basal ganglia help initiate and smooth out muscle movements, suppress involuntary movements, and coordinate changes in posture. In Huntington’s disease, the degradation of the basal ganglia leads to disruptions in these connections, affecting an individual’s ability to control movements.  

Caudate Nucleus

The caudate nucleus, located deep in both halves of the brain, plays a crucial role in various functions such as processing visual information, controlling movement, and influencing emotions. It forms a central hub for information transmission between the outer cortex, white matter, and the thalamus, aiding in higher cognitive functions like learning and information processing. This structure is essential for learning, memory, and emotional regulation. It helps in processing visual information and contributes to working memory and cognitive function. The caudate nucleus also plays a role in using past experiences to shape future actions and decisions. Experts suggest its involvement in the development and use of language, particularly in controlling communication skills alongside another part of the brain called thalamus. 


The Putamen, a significant part of the basal ganglia, is crucial for regulating and coordinating movement. It works alongside other structures in the basal ganglia, such as the caudate nucleus, nucleus accumbens, and globus pallidus, forming what’s known as the corpus striatum. These structures transmit signals to different parts of the brain responsible for physical movement and influence various types of learning.  When the Putamen is affected, it leads to involuntary muscle movements, tremors, or jerky motions.