Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Review
, 8, 174
eCollection

The Role of the Habenula in Drug Addiction

Affiliations
Review

The Role of the Habenula in Drug Addiction

Kenia M Velasquez et al. Front Hum Neurosci.

Abstract

Interest in the habenula has greatly increased in recent years. The habenula is a small brain structure located posterior to the thalamus and adjacent to the third ventricle. Despite its small size, the habenula can be divided into medial habenula (MHb) and lateral habenula (LHb) nuclei that are anatomically and transcriptionally distinct. The habenula receives inputs from the limbic system and basal ganglia primarily via the stria medullaris. The fasciculus retroflexus is the primary habenular output from the habenula to the midbrain and governs release of glutamate onto gabaergic cells in the rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg) and onto the interpeduncular nucleus. The resulting GABA released from RMTg neurons inactivates dopaminergic cells in the ventral tegmental area/substantia nigra compacta. Through this process, the habenula controls dopamine levels in the striatum. Thus, the habenula plays a critical role in reward and reward-associated learning. The LHb also modulates serotonin levels and norepinephrine release, while the MHb modulates acetylcholine. The habenula is a critical crossroad that influences the brain's response to pain, stress, anxiety, sleep, and reward. Dysfunction of the habenula has been linked to depression, schizophrenia, and the effects of drugs of abuse. This review focuses on the possible relationships between the habenula and drug abuse.

Keywords: addiction; dependence; habenula; nicotine; tobacco; withdrawal.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 41 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles

References

    1. Amos C. I. (2007). Successful design and conduct of genome-wide association studies. Hum. Mol. Genet. 16(Spec. No. 2) R220–R22510.1093/hmg/ddm161 - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Amos C. I., Wu X., Broderick P., Gorlov I. P., Gu J., Eisen T., et al. (2008). Genome-wide association scan of tag SNPs identifies a susceptibility locus for lung cancer at 15q25.1. Nat. Genet. 40 616–62210.1038/ng.109 - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Bailey C. D., De Biasi M., Fletcher P. J., Lambe E. K. (2010). The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor alpha5 subunit plays a key role in attention circuitry and accuracy. J. Neurosci. 30 9241–925210.1523/JNEUROSCI.2258-10.2010 - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Balcita-Pedicino J. J., Omelchenko N., Bell R., Sesack S. R. (2011). The inhibitory influence of the lateral habenula on midbrain dopamine cells: ultrastructural evidence for indirect mediation via the rostromedial mesopontine tegmental nucleus. J. Comp. Neurol. 519 1143–116410.1002/cne.22561 - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Berrettini W., Yuan X., Tozzi F., Song K., Francks C., Chilcoat H., et al. (2008). Alpha-5/alpha-3 nicotinic receptor subunit alleles increase risk for heavy smoking. Mol. Psychiatry 13 368–37310.1038/sj.mp.4002154 - DOI - PMC - PubMed

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback