The Reticular Formation

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The brainstem | Main Anatomy Index | Cranial nerves and nuclei I

Last updated 30 March 2006

The Reticular Formation

  1. Its pattern of connectivity is characterised by a great deal of convergence and divergence, so that a single cell may respond to several different sensory modalities or to stimuli applied practically anywhere on the body;
  2. Although it is involved in several quite separate functions, the areas involved in these functions overlap considerably.
  1. The raphe nuclei;
  2. The medial zone;
  3. And the lateral zone.
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The Raphe Nuclei


The Medial Zone


The Lateral Zone

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The Reticular Neurons

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Functions of the Reticular Formation

  1. Motor control;
  2. Sensory control;
  3. Visceral control;
  4. And control of consciousness.
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Motor Control

  1. Certain reticular regions are closely related to the cerebellum and its motor control functions.
  1. There are 2 reticulospinal tracts arising from the medial zone of the pontine and the rostral medullary reticular formation.
  1. The reticulospinal tracts also carry descending motor commands generated within the reticular formation itself.
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Sensory Control

Visceral Control


Control of Consciousness

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Michael Tam (c) 1998