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Neuroscience: Brainstem Nuclei


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Red Nucleus
In midbrain
-Motor Nucleus of the rubrospinal tract (crosses midline at VTD, projects to interneurons in V-VIII)
-participates in a circuit linking the inferior olive and cerebellum
Substantia Nigra
-midbrain, uses dopamine
-receives input from the putamen and caudate nuclei of the basal ganglia and sends fibers back
-sends fibers to thalamus
Superior Colliculus
-receives input from Optic N.
-Origin of tectospinal tract which controls posture and head movements in response to visual stimuli. Crosses midline at MTD, projects bilaterally to motor neurons in s.c.
-controls visual reflexes
Inferior Colliculus
-major auditory nucleus
-sends fibers to MGB medial geniculate body (thalamus)
-receives input from the superior olivary nucleus through the lateral lemniscus
Pontine Nuclei
-receives input from cerebral cortex through cerebral peduncle
-output to contralateral cerebellar hemisphere through middle cerebellar peduncle
Superior Olivary Nucleus
-forms lateral lemniscus
-in auditory pathway between cochlear nuclei and inferior colliculus
Inferior Olivary Nucleus
-input from red nucleus, s.c.
-fibers cross midline to enter cerebellum through inferior cerebellar peduncle
Nucleus of the Solitary Tract (Solitary nucleus)
-inputs: taste from VII, IX, X
-outputs: taste to thalamus, visceral reflex to Dorsal Motor nucleus of X, reticular formation
Spinal Accessory nucleus
-rostral cervical s.c. (C1-C6)
-innervates trapezius and SCM
-fibers ascend to join with fibers of X and IX thru foramen magnum
Dorsal Column Nuclei
-Nucleus Gracilis (leg, medial), Nucleus Cuneatus (arm, lateral)
-Receives fine touch/discriminatory sensation/pressure from spinal cord
-crosses midline as internal arcuate fibers, ascends as medial lemniscus
-projects to VPL nucleus of thalamus
Accessory Cuneate Nuclei
-receives individual muscle sense from above C8 from dorsal spinocerebellar tract (DRG)
-projects to cerebellum through inferior cerebellar peduncle
Median and Dorsal Raphe Nuclei
-midbrain and pons
-modulates pain transmission at spinal cord level
-sends fibers to forebrain, cerebellum for arousal and learning
Nuelcus Pontis Oralis/Caudalis, Gigantocellular Reticular Nucleus
-pons, medulla (GRN)
-Forms medial and latereal reticulospinal pathways
-regulates muscle tone, reflex, and postural mechanisms
Pedunculopontine Tegmental Nucleus/Laterodorsal Tegmental Nucleus/Parabrachial Nucleus
-projects to intralaminar nucleus of thalamus, then to cortex where it regulates arousal/REM sleep and learning
Locus Coeruleus
-projects norepinephrine to forebrain to modulate forebrain function, attentional processes
-also projects NE to s.c. to regulate cerebellar and spinal cord excitability during sleep/wake cycle

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