This is a complex matrix of neurons, which extends from the lower medulla to the upper end of the mesencephalon. The lateral portion is afferent and the medial portion efferent. It includes the sagittally oriented serotonergic raphe nuclei in the midline of the medulla, pons and mesencephalon, and the locus coeruleus, a group of pigmented noradrenergic cells in the floor of the fourth ventricle. It has afferent connections from: Spinal cord Cerebral cortex Superior colliculus Basal ganglia Limbic structures Hypothalamus Cerebellum
3 Cerebellum p y Thalamus i
I Its functions include:
y The conscious awareness of, and behavioural responses to, specific sensory stimuli;
Integration of signals from sensory receptors;
Maintenance of the level of wakefulness (fibres that ascend into the intralaminar nuclei of the thalamus); Inhibitory and facilitatory effects on skeletal muscle tone and posture, via the reticulospinal tracts; Inhibitory and facilitatory effects on reflex activity; Control of ventilation by generation of the respiratory rhythm; Control of blood pressure; Control of cardiac output;
Control of the distribution of blood volume to organs.
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