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Physiological studies indicate that the central mesencephalic reticular formation (cMRF) plays a role in gaze changes, including control of disjunctive saccades. Neuroanatomical studies have demonstrated strong interconnections with the superior colliculus, along with projections to extraocular motor nuclei, the preganglionic nucleus of Edinger-Westphal, the paramedian pontine reticular formation, nucleus raphe interpositus, medullary reticular formation and cervical spinal cord, as might be expected for a structure that is intimately involved in gaze control. However, the sources of input to this midbrain structure have not been described in detail. In the present study, the brainstem cells of origin supplying the cMRF were labeled by retrograde transport of tracer (wheat germ agglutinin conjugated horseradish peroxidase) in macaque monkeys. Within the diencephalon, labeled neurons were noted in the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus, pregeniculate nucleus and habenula. In the midbrain, labeled cells were found in the substantia nigra pars reticulata, medial pretectal nucleus, superior colliculus, tectal longitudinal column, periaqueductal gray, supraoculomotor area, and contralateral cMRF. In the pons they were located in the paralemniscal zone, parabrachial nucleus, locus coeruleus, nucleus prepositus hypoglossi and the paramedian pontine reticular formation. Finally, in the medulla they were observed in the medullary reticular formation. The fact that this list of input sources is very similar to those of the superior colliculus supports the view that the cMRF represents an important gaze control center. © 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


Susan Warren, Paul J May. Brainstem sources of input to the central mesencephalic reticular formation in the macaque. Experimental brain research. 2023 Aug;241(8):2145-2162

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PMID: 37474798

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