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, 81 (4), e27-e28

The Habenula: Darkness, Disappointment, and Depression


The Habenula: Darkness, Disappointment, and Depression

Alfred Kaye et al. Biol Psychiatry.

Conflict of interest statement


DAR reported no other biomedical financial interests or potential conflicts of interest.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons convey learning signals related to unexpected rewards throughout the brain, with strong connections to the striatum and medial prefrontal cortex. Conversely, the lateral habenula signals the failure to receive an expected reward by sending excitatory inputs to the rostromedial tegmentum, which in turn suppresses ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons. The habenular model of depression is that chronic stress can lead to increased sensitivity of cells in the lateral habenula, thereby leading to more frequent signaling of disappointment or failure.

Comment on

  • Translating the Habenula-From Rodents to Humans.
    Boulos LJ, Darcq E, Kieffer BL. Boulos LJ, et al. Biol Psychiatry. 2017 Feb 15;81(4):296-305. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2016.06.003. Epub 2016 Jun 7. Biol Psychiatry. 2017. PMID: 27527822 Free PMC article. Review.

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