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Pedunculopontine nucleus

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The pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN) (or pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus) is located in the brainstem, caudal to the substantia nigra and adjacent to the superior cerebellar peduncle. It is composed by a wide variety of neurochemical cell types, including cholinergic, glutamatergic and GABAergic cells. The PPN has been classically considered as one of the main components of the reticular activating system.

One of the distinctive characteristics of the PPN is the wide range of its projections. PPN neurons send their axons to several targets in the thalamus, basal ganglia, cerebral cortex, basal forebrain, and lower brainstem. A particularly interesting area for the study of PPN projections is the basal ganglia, due to the high level of interconnectivity between them. Indeed, both share many characteristics in terms of projection targets and functions.

The PPN is involved in many functions, including arousal, attention, learning, reward, and locomotion. It is also implicated in the generation and maintenance of REM sleep.

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Mesencephalon (midbrain)

cerebral peduncle: midbrain tegmentum (periaqueductal gray, ventral tegmentum, nucleus raphe dorsalis), pretectum, substantia nigra, red nucleus, pedunculopontine nucleus, medial longitudinal fasciculus, medial lemniscus, rubrospinal tract, lateral lemniscus

tectum: corpora quadrigemina, inferior colliculi, superior colliculi

cerebral aqueduct: oculomotor nucleus, trochlear nucleus, Edinger-Westphal nucleus

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