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J Neurosci. 2008 Nov 12;28(46):11825-9. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3463-08.2008.

Habenula: crossroad between the basal ganglia and the limbic system.

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  • 1Laboratory of Sensorimotor Research, National Eye Institute-National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-4435, USA.


There is a growing awareness that emotion, motivation, and reward values are important determinants of our behavior. The habenula is uniquely positioned both anatomically and functionally to participate in the circuit mediating some forms of emotive decision making. In the last few years there has been a surge of interest in this structure, especially the lateral habenula (LHb). The new studies suggest that the LHb plays a pivotal role in controlling motor and cognitive behaviors by influencing the activity of dopamine and serotonin neurons. Further, dysfunctions of the LHb have also been implicated in psychiatric disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia, and drug-induced psychosis.

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