Lateral habenula in the pathophysiology of depression

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2018 Feb:48:90-96. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2017.10.024. Epub 2017 Nov 23.


Depression is a devastating disorder with a combination of diverse symptoms such as low self-esteem, lack of motivation, anhedonia, loss of appetite, low energy, and discomfort without a clear cause. Depression has been suggested to be the result of maladaptive changes in specific brain circuits. Recently, the lateral habenula (LHb) has emerged as a key brain region in the pathophysiology of depression. Increasing evidence from rodent, non-human primate and human studies indicates that the aberrant activity of the LHb is associated with depressive symptoms such as helplessness, anhedonia, and excessive negative focus. Revealing the molecular, cellular and circuit properties of the LHb will help explain how abnormalities in LHb activity are linked to depressive disorders, and shed light on developing novel strategies for depression treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Depressive Disorder / pathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Habenula / pathology*
  • Habenula / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Nerve Net / pathology*
  • Neurons / physiology