substantia nigra

The substantia nigra is a pigmented band of gray matter (substantia nigra means "black substance") in the midbrain; it is one of the centers associated with the control of movement. Cells within the substantia nigra produce and release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that controls movement and balance and is essential to the proper functioning of the central nervous system. Dopamine released by neurons in the substantia negra lands on the surface of neurons in other brain centers, controlling their activities or "firing" and thus regulating movement. The main target regions of dopamine released from the substantia nigra are called the caudate and the putamen.