The gigantocellular nucleus, as the name indicates, is mainly composed of the so-called giant neuronal cells.
This nucleus has been known to innervate the caudal hypoglossal nucleus, and responds to glutamateric stimuli.
The gigantocellular nucleus excites the hypoglossal nucleus, and can play a role in the actions of the said nerve.
This nucleus receives connections from the periaqueductal gray, the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus, central nucleus of the amygdala, lateral hypothalamic area, and parvocellular reticular nucleus.
Retrograde studies have shown that the deep mesencephalic reticular formation and oral pontine reticular nucleus project to the gigantocellular nucleus.
The dorsal rostral section of the nucleus reticularis gigantocellularis is also involved mediating in expiration (or out-breathing) along with the parvocellular nucleus.
- ^ Yang, CC et al. Excitatory innervation of caudal hypoglossal nucleus from nucleus reticularis gigantocellularis in the rat. Neuroscience. 1995 Mar;65(2):365-74.
It also receives inputs from the pedunculopontine nucleus.