How best to consider the structure and function of the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus: evidence from animal studies

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This review presents the hypothesis that the best way to consider the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus is by analogy with the substantia nigra. The substantia nigra contains two main compartments: the pars compacta and the pars reticulata. The former contains dopamine neurons that project widely within the basal ganglia while the latter is in receipt of corticostriatal output. Similarly, the PPTg contains the Ch5 acetylcholine containing neurons that project to the thalamus and corticostriatal systems (notably the pars compacta of substantia nigra and the subthalamic nucleus) while the non-cholinergic neurons of the pedunculopontine are in receipt of corticostriatal output. Assessment of the location, composition and connections of the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus is made to support the hypothesis that it has structural similarities with substantia nigra. Assessment of the motor, sensory and cognitive functions of the pedunculopontine is also made, suggesting functional similarities exist also. Having a clear model of pedunculopontine structure and function is a matter of some importance. It is clearly involved in Parkinson's disease and could potentially be a target for therapeutic intervention. If this is to be realized it will be best to have as clear an understanding as possible of pedunculopontine structure and function in order to maximize positive benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-250
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2006


  • acetylcholine
  • basal ganglia
  • corticostriatal
  • learning
  • locomotion
  • Parkinson's disease
  • reinforcement
  • substantia nigra
  • subthalamic nucleus
  • motor performance
  • models, animal

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