An integrative neuroanatomical perspective on some subcortical substrates of adaptive responding with emphasis on the nucleus accumbens

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2000 Jan;24(1):85-105. doi: 10.1016/s0149-7634(99)00065-2.


Neuroanatomical substrates associated in the literature with adaptive responding are discussed, with a focus on the nucleus accumbens. While it is emphasized that the accumbens exhibits multiple levels of complex organization, a fairly complete list of brief descriptions of recent studies devoted specifically to the accumbens shell and core subterritories is presented in tabular format. The distinct patterns of connectivity of the accumbens core and shell and structures related to them by connections are described. Multiple inputs, outputs and abundant reciprocity of connections within the ventral parts of the basal ganglia are emphasized and the implications for "through-put" of impulses is considered. It is noted, at least on neuroanatomical grounds, that there is ample reason to expect feed forward processing from shell and structures with which it is associated to core and structures with which it is associated. Furthermore, the potential for additional feed forward processing involving several forebrain functional anatomical systems, inlcuding the ventral striatopallidum, extended amygdala and magnocellular basal forebrain complex is considered. It is intended that from the considerations recorded here a conceptual framework will begin to emerge that is amenable to further experimental substantiation as regards how multiple basal forebrain systems and the cortices to which they are related by connections work together to fashion a unitary object--the adaptive response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / physiopathology*
  • Biomarkers
  • Humans
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiology*


  • Biomarkers