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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2017 Nov;162:3-21. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2017.06.004. Epub 2017 Jun 21.

Review of the cytology and connections of the lateral habenula, an avatar of adaptive behaving.

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Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, 1402 S. Grand Blvd., Saint Louis, MO 63104, United States. Electronic address:
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309, United States. Electronic address:


The cytology and connections of the lateral habenula (LHb) are reviewed. The habenula is first introduced, after which the cytology of the LHb is discussed mainly with reference to cell types, general topography and descriptions of subnuclei. An overview of LHb afferent connections is given followed by some details about the projections to LHb from a number of structures. An overview of lateral habenula efferent connections is given followed by some details about the projections from LHb to a number of structures. In considering the afferent and efferent connections of the LHb some attention is given to the relative validity of regarding it as a bi-partite structure featuring 'limbic' and 'pallidal' parts. The paper ends with some concluding remarks about the relative place of the LHb in adaptive behaving.


Dopamine; Dorsal raphe; Lateral hypothalamus; Lateral preoptic area; Median raphe; Substantia nigra compacta; Ventral tegmental area; ventral pallidum

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