The caudal pontine reticular nucleus or nucleus reticularis pontis caudalis is composed of gigantocellular neurons.
In rabbits and cats it is exclusively giant cells, however in humans there are normally sized cells as well.
The nucleus reticularis pontis caudalis is rostral to the gigantocellular nucleus and is located in the caudal pons, as the name would indicate.
The nucleus reticularis pontis caudalis has been known to mediate head movement, in concert with the gigantocellular nucleus and the superior colliculus.
The neurons in the dorsal half of this nucleus fire rhythmically during mastication, and in an anesthetized animal it is possible to induce mastication via electrical stimulation of the nucleus reticularis pontis caudalis or adjacent areas of the gigantocellular nucleus.
The nucleus reticularis pontis caudalis is also thought to play a role in the grinding of teeth during sleep. The region also suppresses muscle tone during REM sleep, activates eye movements, and decreases the sensory input to the cerebral cortex, specifically the primary and sensory somatosensory cortices.
^Sasaki S, The neural control of orienting: role of multiple-branching reticulospinal neurons. Prog Brain Res. 2004;143:383-9.
^Scott G, Effect of lidocaine and NMDA injections into the medial pontobulbar reticular formation on mastication evoked by cortical stimulation in anaesthetized rabbits. Eur J Neurosci. 2003 May;17(10):2156-62.