Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Locus Ceruleus

  • Galya AbdrakhmanovaEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_330


Blue spot; Nucleus pigmentosus pontis


Locus ceruleus (Latin, “place, dark blue”) is a pigmented noradrenergic nucleus located in the dorsorostral pons.

Current Knowledge

Locus ceruleus (also spelled locus coeruleus) contains 30,000–35,000 neurons and is made up of four subnuclei: central (largest), anterior, ventral, and posterior dorsal. The locus ceruleus is dark blue in sections; melanin granules inside the pigmented cells of locus ceruleus contribute to its blue color. The neurons of the locus ceruleus provide noradrenergic innervations to most regions of the central nervous system. The projections of the locus ceruleus include the spinal cord, brain stem, cerebellum, thalamic relay nuclei, amygdala, basal telencephalon, and cortex. The norepinephrine from the locus ceruleus has an excitatory effect on most of the brain, mediating arousal and attention processing. The locus ceruleus is targeted by several endogenous opioid peptides, e.g., enkephalin, excitatory...

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References and Readings

  1. Aston-Jones, G., & Waterhouse, B. D. (2016). Locus coeruleus: From global projection system to adaptive regulation of behavior. Brain Research, 1645, 75–78.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Llorca-Torralba, M., Borges, G., Neto, F., Mico, J. A., & Berrocoso, E. (2016). Noradrenergic Locus Coeurleus pathways in pain modulation. Neuroscience, 338, 93–113.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Van Bockstaele, E. J., & Valentino, R. J. (2013). Neuropeptide regulation of the locus coeruleus and opioid-induced plasticity of stress responses. Advances in Pharmacology, 68, 405–420.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of RichmondRichmondUSA