Centrum Semiovale

What is Centrum Semiovale?

Centrum Semiovale  is a mass consisting of white matter that occurs superior to (on top of) the lateral ventricles or corpus collosum found in each of cerebral hemispheres at the bottom of the cerebral cortex. Centrum semiovale has a semi-oval shape. It also contains commissural, projection, and association fibers. On the upper parts of the fibers, they appear continuous with coronal radiata.

Centrum Semiovale Anatomy

White matter

The brain has white matter that occupies nearly 60% of its total space. The white matter is situated in the subcortical and central areas of cerebellar and cerebral hemispheres. The white matter contains a network of fibers- these include the major commissural tracts or fibers and cortical fibers. It also contains all cortical afferent and efferent fibers.

The white matter also consists of supporting cells, nerve fibers, vascular structure and interstitial space. It also has myelin that envelope the fibers to cushion them against damage or injury. The white matter can be divided into two broad groups: deep white matter such as centrum semiovale and periventricular white matter.

Functions of White matter

White matter is a crucial part of your brain and performs mainly coordination and communication functions. It helps you to keep balance while walking, think well to solve problems and remember things you have learnt, among other things.

What can Affect Centrum Semiovale?

The white matter in your brain has a tissue that consists of many nerve fibers or axons. The nerve fibers join parts of your brain to the spinal cord. They also indicate to your nerves to communicate with each other. This tissue also has a myelin, a fatty material that shields the nerve fibers against injury or damage as well as gives color to the white matter.

The tissue in your white matter of the brain helps you to maintain balance, reflect or think. When this tissue is damaged by any causative agent, it disrupts any communication among your nerves, which affects your ability to think and keep balance.

There are many causes that can damage to your white matter and hence the centrum semiovale such as the following:


There are various diseases that are associated with damage to white matter of the brain such as:

Hereditary metabolic disorders

Hereditary metabolic disorders refer to various types of conditions that are as a result of defective genes. They may be inherited from both parents and usually interfere with your normal body metabolism. Hereditary metabolic disorders are also known as inborn errors of metabolism.

Metabolism involves sets of various chemical reactions in your body that works together in your body to produce energy and keep you a life. Metabolism is only made possible by certain enzymes which help breakdown food or particular chemicals in into a form that your body can use.

Your body may lack certain substances which the chemical processes can manufacture as well as destroy those not needed in the body.

When there is a deficiency in enzymes and hormones in your body, these chemical processes may not function well leading to a metabolic disorder.

There are many metabolic disorders that may affect white matter of your brain and depends on the substance causing it and the degrees of severity. Some of these disorders include:


Leukodystrophies are metabolic inherited disorders that affect your spinal cord, brain and nerves (peripheral).

There are quite a number of different types of leukodystrophies, and they tend to be caused by a particular defective gene that essentially destroys the myelin in your brain. The myelin protects your nerves from damage and when it’s affected your nerves become dysfunctional.

The various types of leukodystrophies tend to affect different parts of myelin in different ways and may also lead to various neurological complications.

Each type of leukodystrophies may cause you to develop hearing problems, inability to move, impaired vision, loss of memory, poor thinking and balance. The following are types of leukodystrophies: alexander disease, aicardi-Goutieres syndrome and adult-onset autosomal dominant leukodystrophy.

Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects your central nervous system. It is an autoimmune disorder in which case the immune system attacks and destroys the myelin in the brain. When myelin is destroyed, communication between nerves in your brain is disrupted which affects your walking, balance, thinking and memory.

Infectious & Inflammatory

Infectious and inflammatory disorders include:

Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML)

Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML) is a viral infection that affects your brain. It is caused by a virus known as John Cunningham (JC). The virus may be acquired when you are a child and remains inactive for longer time and become active when your immune system is weakened.

Your immune system can be weakened by drugs such as natalizumab and disorders like lymphoma and AIDS.

Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML) affects different parts of your brain. Its symptoms may begin slowly but may worsen as the disease progresses. Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML) may affect how you speak and walk well. It can also make you partially blind.


One of the symptoms you will exhibit when the white matter of your brain is damaged is difficult to walk properly. You can also experience memory loss where you find it difficult to remember things or learn something. Other symptoms include increased falls because of lack of balance, slow in thinking which affects your solution to problems and feeling depressed.

Centrum Semiovale Stroke


Due to advancement in imaging technology, white matter can now be easily examined. Your doctor will use a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology to take pictures of the inside of your brain and display any damage to your brain.

If there are any alterations on your white matter, they will be shown as super-bright white or hyperintense on magnetic resonance imaging scan. MRI scan may not reveal the exact cause of white matter problem, your doctor may conduct other tests to determine the really cause of the problem.

Centrum Semiovale Stroke


There is no specific treatment for white matter damage. The main aim is to treat the causative agent and prevent further damage to the white matter. High blood pressure can be treated with medications and lifestyle changes.

Some of the drugs that your doctor can prescribe to treat high blood pressure include: angiotensin II receptor blockers, alpha-agonists, diuretics and renin inhibitors.

You can also reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure by changing your lifestyle. Changing your lifestyle involves exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, avoid smoking and alcohol, limiting quantity of sodium intake and losing weight if you are obese.

For Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML) and Multiple sclerosis, there are no effective treatments proven. But, if a weak immune system is the cause of the disorder, it can be treated. You can boost your immune system through the following:

  • Eat food rich in vegetables, whole grain, fruits and less saturated fat.
  • Quit smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Have an exercise plan to exercise regularly.

References List

  1. Classification of white matter lesions on magnetic resonance imaging in the elderly. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2593803/
  2. Leukodystrophy. https://rarediseases.org/for-patients-and-families/
  3. Inherited metabolic disorders. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/inherited-metabolic-disorders/basics/definition/con-20036708
  4. Demyelinating diseases of the brain. http://spinwarp.ucsd.edu/neuroweb/Text/br-840.htm
  5. Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML). http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/brain,-spinal-cord,-and-nerve-disorders/brain-infections/progressive-multifocal-leukoencephalopathy-pml
  6. Multiple sclerosis. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/multiple-sclerosis/home/ovc-20131882

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