As neurochemistry and cytochemical localization techniques improve, it is becoming increasingly clear that the reticular formation is not a diffuse, undefined system,- it contains highly organized clusters of transmitter-specific cell groups that influence functions in specific areas of the CNS. For example, the nuclei of monoaminergic neuronal systems are located in well-defined cell groups throughout the reticular formation.
A unique characteristic of neurons of the reticular formation is their widespread system of axon collaterals, which make extensive synaptic contacts and, in some cases, travel over long distances in the CNS. A striking example is the demonstration, using intracellular labeling of individual cells and their processes, that one axon branch descends all the way into the spinal cord, while the collateral branch projects rostrally all the way to the forebrain, making myriad synaptic contacts along both axonal pathways.
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.