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Locus coeruleus

Locus coeruleus

The locus coeruleus regulates attention and is an important mediator of stress responses.
It is activated by orexin and sends the norepinephrine it produces to quite a few brain regions involved in stress systems.

  • Stimulated by orexin
  • Afferents (received signals) from:
    • MPFC
      • Constant stimulating input according to the activity level
    • Nucleus paragigantocellularis
      • Integrates autonomous and environmental stimuli
    • Nucleus prepositus perihypoglossalis
      • Controls horizontal and vertical eye movements, gaze following movements and gaze fixation
    • Lateral hypothalamus
      • Produces orexin
  • Produces noradrenaline
  • Efferences (sends signals) to:
    • Amygdala
    • Hippocampus
    • Brainstem
    • Spinal cord
    • Cerebellum
    • Cortex
    • Hypothalamus
    • Tectum (dorsal mesencephalon)
    • Thalamus
    • Ventral tegmentum

Chronic activation of the locus coeruleus appears to reduce the stress response1

Chemical deactivation of the locus coeruleus acutely and briefly reduced the HPA axis response. However, after 4 weeks of chronic stress, the HPA axis response was fully restored despite deactivated LC.2 This suggests that the primarily appears to mediate acute stress responses.

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