Paraventricular thalamus: Gateway to feeding, appetitive motivation, and drug addiction

Prog Brain Res. 2017:235:113-137. doi: 10.1016/bs.pbr.2017.07.006. Epub 2017 Sep 7.


This chapter reviews the anatomical and functional evidence demonstrating the contribution of the paraventricular thalamic nucleus (PVT) to appetitive motivation, food intake control, and drug-seeking behaviors. We first consider the anatomical properties of the PVT to highlight its relevance in the control of appetitive motivation, feeding, and drug seeking. This is followed by a review of the available literature on PVT neurocircuitry, PVT involvement in food intake control, animal models of drug self-administration, withdrawal, and relapse. We show that PVT occupies a strategic position as a major thalamic interface between hindbrain and hypothalamic regions for viscerosensation and energy states; and between amygdala, cortical, and ventral striatal regions for motivation, reward, and learning. Understanding the precise anatomical and functional organization of these trans-PVT pathways remains a key challenge. Nonetheless, we show that PVT may be profitably viewed as the thalamic gateway to appetitive motivation, feeding, and drug addiction allowing both bottom-up (from brainstem and hypothalamus) and top-down (from cortex) control over reward and motivation.

Keywords: Addiction; Paraventricular thalamus; Relapse; Reward; Withdrawal.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Midline Thalamic Nuclei / physiopathology*
  • Motivation*
  • Reward*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / pathology*