What does the locus coeruleus look like?

What does the locus coeruleus look like?

The locus coeruleus (LC), or ‘blue spot’, is a small nucleus located deep in the brainstem that provides the far-reaching noradrenergic neurotransmitter system of the brain.

What does the locus coeruleus do?

The locus coeruleus (LC), a small brainstem nucleus, is the primary source of the neuromodulator norepinephrine (NE) in the brain. The LC receives input from widespread brain regions, and projects throughout the forebrain, brainstem, cerebellum, and spinal cord.

What are noradrenergic neurons?

Noradrenergic neurons (i.e., neurons whose primary neurotransmitter is norepinephrine) are comparatively few in number, and their cell bodies are confined to a few relatively small brain areas, but they send projections to many other brain areas and exert powerful effects on their targets.

Where are noradrenergic neurons located?

The principal noradrenergic cell groups are found in the locus coeruleus, the lateral tegmentum, and the dorsal medulla. The most important of these for the processes discussed here, being implicated in processes of arousal and attention, are the neurons of the locus coeruleus.

How big is the locus coeruleus?

between 31,000 and 60,000 μm3
In adult humans (19-78) the locus coeruleus has 22,000 to 51,000 total pigmented neurons that range in size between 31,000 and 60,000 μm3.

What does norepinephrine do in the brain?

As a neurotransmitter in your brain and spinal cord, norepinephrine: Increases alertness, arousal and attention. Constricts blood vessels, which helps maintain blood pressure in times of stress. Affects your sleep-wake cycle, mood and memory.

Where do the noradrenergic neurons project to?

The LC noradrenergic neurons receive converging inputs and send diverging projections to the cortex, and this might be able to mediate the holistic modulation of the brain during arousal and the switch from sleep to wakefulness.

Why is it called locus coeruleus?

The first descriptions of the LC date back to the late 1700s when French anatomist Félix Vicq d’Azyr detailed a blue-colored area of tissue in the pons. In the early 1800s, the term locus coeruleus, which means “blue spot” in Latin, was used to refer to that pigmented region.