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Brain Nuclei: Clinical Relevance

NucleusNeuro-
transmitter
MedicationLocationClinical Relevance
Locus coeruleusNETofranil, Nardil, Xanax, Inderal, DepakoteBrain stemPanic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (full activation), arousal, anxiety, learning (moderate activation)
AmygdalaDA ACHAnticonvulsants, antipsychoticsLimbic systemInvolved in control of emotional tone. Implicated in inappropriate rage, fear, sexuality, seizures
Suprachiasmatic nucleus5-HT EAA GABASSRIsHypothalamusInternal pacemaker. Possibly involved in seasonal and nonseasonal affective disorders.
Solitary nucleusNE 5-HT(?)Tofranil, Nardil, Inderal, SSRIsBrain stemInvolved in suffocation alarm theory of panic disorder.
Dorsal raphe5-HTBuSpar, Klonopin, SSRIsBrain stemInvolved in decreasing anxiety. Site of action of Buspar
Corpus striatum (basal ganglia)DAAntipsychotics, L-DOPACerebral hemispheresMediates involuntary muscle movement, tone. Site of Parkinson’s disease, medication side effects. Involved in affective disorders and OCD.
HypothalamusNE DA 5-HT EAAAlmost all psychotropicsImmediately above the brain stemDirects homeostasis, mind-body link, interface of nerve, hormone, and immune systems. Regulates autonomic nervous system.
AccumbensDAAntipsychoticsLimbic systemMediates the reinforcing properties of drugs of abuse. Involved in deficit schizophrenia.