A novel GABAergic afferent input to the pontine reticular formation: The mesopontine GABAergic column

Chang Lin Liang, Gerald A. Marks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


Pharmacological manipulations of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmission in the nucleus pontis oralis (PnO) of the rat brainstem produce alterations in sleep/wake behavior. Local applications of GABAA receptor antagonists and agonists increase REM sleep and wake, respectively. These findings support a role for GABAergic mechanisms of the PnO in the control of arousal state. We have been investigating sources of GABA innervation of the PnO that may interact with local GABAA receptors in the control of state. Utilizing a retrograde tracer, cholera toxin-B subunit (CTb), injected into the PnO and dual-label immunohistochemistry with an antibody against glutamic acid decarboxalase-67 (GAD67), we report on a previously unidentified GABAergic neuronal population projecting to the contralateral PnO appearing as a column of cells, with long-axis in the sagittal plane, extending through the midbrain and pons. We refer to these neurons as the mesopontine GABAergic column (MPGC). The contiguous, columnar, anatomical distribution suggests operation as a functional neural system, which may influence expression of REM sleep, wake and other behaviors subserved by the PnO.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-40
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Research
StatePublished - Oct 22 2009



  • Cholera toxin-B subunit
  • GABA
  • Nucleus pontis oralis
  • REM sleep
  • Retrograde labeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

Cite this