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Reticulospinal tract

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Title: Reticulospinal tract  
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Subject: Vestibulospinal tract, Alpha motor neuron
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Reticulospinal tract

Brain: Reticulospinal tract
NeuroNames NeuroLex ID birnlex_1471

The reticulospinal tract (or anterior reticulospinal tract) is an extrapyramidal motor tract that descends from the reticular formation in two tracts to act on the motor neurons supplying the trunk and proximal limb muscles. It is involved mainly in locomotion and postural control, although it does have other effects as well. [1]


1. Integrates information from the motor systems to coordinate automatic movements of locomotion and posture

2. Facilitates and inhibits voluntary movement; influences muscle tone

3. Mediates autonomic functions

4. Modulates pain impulses

5. Influences blood flow to lateral geniculate nucleus of the thalamus.


The tract is divided into two parts, the medial (or pontine) and lateral (or medullary) reticulospinal tracts (MRST and LRST).

  • The MRST is responsible for exciting anti-gravity, extensor muscles. The fibers of this tract arise from the caudal pontine reticular nucleus and the oral pontine reticular nucleus and project to the lamina VII and lamina VIII of the spinal cord (BrainInfo)
  • The LRST is responsible for inhibiting excitatory axial extensor muscles of movement. The fibers of this tract arise from the medullary reticular formation, mostly from the gigantocellular nucleus, and descend the length of the spinal cord in the anterior part of the lateral column. The tract terminates in lamina VII mostly with some fibers terminating in lamina IX of the spinal cord.

The sensory tract conveying information in the opposite direction is known as the "spinoreticular tract".

Clinical significance

If the superior colliculus is damaged, it is called decerebration and causes decerebrate rigidity.

The reticulospinal tracts also provide a pathway by which the hypothalamus can control sympathetic thoracolumbar outflow and parasympathetic sacral outflow.

See also


External links

  • BrainInfo reticulospinal tract .
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