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.
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