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Neuron. 2008 Nov 26;60(4):720-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2008.09.035.

The globus pallidus sends reward-related signals to the lateral habenula.

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  • 1Laboratory of Sensorimotor Research, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, 49 Convent Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


As a major output station of the basal ganglia, the globus pallidus internal segment (GPi) projects to the thalamus and brainstem nuclei thereby controlling motor behavior. A less well known fact is that the GPi also projects to the lateral habenula (LHb) which is often associated with the limbic system. Using the monkey performing a saccade task with positionally biased reward outcomes, we found that antidromically identified LHb-projecting neurons were distributed mainly in the dorsal and ventral borders of the GPi and that their activity was strongly modulated by expected reward outcomes. A majority of them were excited by the no-reward-predicting target and inhibited by the reward-predicting target. These reward-dependent modulations were similar to those in LHb neurons but started earlier than those in LHb neurons. These results suggest that GPi may initiate reward-related signals through its effects on the LHb, which then influences the dopaminergic and serotonergic systems.

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