reticular formation

noun
a network of neurons in the brainstem involved in consciousness, regulation of breathing, the transmission of sensory stimuli to higher brain centers, and the constantly shifting muscular activity that supports the body against gravity.

Origin:
1885–90

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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

reticular formation n.
A massive but vaguely delimited neural apparatus composed of closely intermingled gray and white matter, extending the length of the spinal cord and into the diencephalon, and having a dominant role in the central control of autonomic and endocrine functions, bodily posture, skeletomuscular reflex activity, and general behavioral states. Also called reticular substance.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
reticular formation   (rĭ-tĭk'yə-lər)  Pronunciation Key 
A complex network of neurons and axons that is located throughout the brainstem. The reticular formation regulates consciousness, sleep, and wakefulness.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The motor root arises from a nucleus which lies deeply in the reticular formation of the lower part of the pons.
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