Locus coeruleus

Last revised by Yusra Sheikh on 29 Mar 2023

The locus coeruleus is a paired pigmented brainstem nucleus and the brain's main noradrenergic nucleus.

It is located in the posterior rostral pons near the lateral floor of the fourth ventricle and is the leading site of norepinephrine synthesis in the brain.

Locus coeruleus neurons densely innervate cortical and subcortical structures and play a key role in controlling mood, arousal (reticular activating system), sleep-wake states, cognition, and autonomic function (e.g. blood pressure control).

The number of locus coeruleus neurons does not change significantly during normal aging whereas degeneration is seen in Parkinson disease and Alzheimer disease.

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