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

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


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Bias
  • Biogenic Amines / metabolism
  • Emotions / physiology
  • Globus Pallidus / anatomy & histology
  • Globus Pallidus / physiology*
  • Habenula / anatomy & histology
  • Habenula / physiology*
  • Limbic System / anatomy & histology
  • Limbic System / physiology
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Reward*
  • Saccades / physiology


  • Biogenic Amines