Brain Nuclei: Clinical Relevance

Nucleus Neuro-
transmitter
Medication Location Clinical Relevance
Locus coeruleus NE Tofranil, Nardil, Xanax, Inderal, Depakote Brain stem Panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (full activation), arousal, anxiety, learning (moderate activation)
Amygdala DA ACH Anticonvulsants, antipsychotics Limbic system Involved in control of emotional tone. Implicated in inappropriate rage, fear, sexuality, seizures
Suprachiasmatic nucleus 5-HT EAA GABA SSRIs Hypothalamus Internal pacemaker. Possibly involved in seasonal and nonseasonal affective disorders.
Solitary nucleus NE 5-HT(?) Tofranil, Nardil, Inderal, SSRIs Brain stem Involved in suffocation alarm theory of panic disorder.
Dorsal raphe 5-HT BuSpar, Klonopin, SSRIs Brain stem Involved in decreasing anxiety. Site of action of Buspar
Corpus striatum (basal ganglia) DA Antipsychotics, L-DOPA Cerebral hemispheres Mediates involuntary muscle movement, tone. Site of Parkinson’s disease, medication side effects. Involved in affective disorders and OCD.
Hypothalamus NE DA 5-HT EAA Almost all psychotropics Immediately above the brain stem Directs homeostasis, mind-body link, interface of nerve, hormone, and immune systems. Regulates autonomic nervous system.
Accumbens DA Antipsychotics Limbic system Mediates the reinforcing properties of drugs of abuse. Involved in deficit schizophrenia.