Electrophysiological evidence for convergence of inputs from the medial prefrontal cortex and lateral habenula on single neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus

Eur J Neurosci. 2003 Jan;17(2):280-6. doi: 10.1046/j.1460-9568.2003.02465.x.


Neuronal projections to the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) from the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and lateral habenula nucleus (LHb) provide the two key routes by which information processed by mood regulatory, cortico-limbic-striatal circuits input into the 5-HT system. These two projections may converge as it appears that both activate local GABAergic neurons to inhibit 5-HT neurons in the DRN. Here we have tested this hypothesis by measuring the effect of stimulation of the mPFC and LHb on the activity of 5-HT and non-5-HT, putative gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) neurons in the DRN using extracellular recordings in anaesthetized rats. A total of 119 5-HT neurons (regular, slow firing, broad spike width) and 21 non-5-HT, putative GABA neurons (fast-firing, narrow spike width) were tested. Electrical stimulation of the mPFC or LHb caused a poststimulus inhibition (30 ms latency) of 101/119 5-HT neurons, of which 61 (60%) were inhibited by both the mPFC and LHb. Electrical stimulation of the mPFC or LHb also caused a short latency (12-20 ms) poststimulus facilitation of 10/21 non-5-HT neurons, of which 5 (50%) were activated by both the mPFC and LHb. These data indicate that a significant number of 5-HT neurons and non-5-HT neurons in the DRN are influenced by both the mPFC and LHb. Moreover, the data are compatible with the hypothesis and that there is a convergence of mPFC and LHb inputs on local circuit GABAergic neurons in the DRN which in turn inhibit the activity of 5-HT neurons.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrophysiology
  • Habenula / physiology*
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Raphe Nuclei / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Serotonin / metabolism
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • Serotonin
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid