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Review
, 348, 115-126

The Dorsal Diencephalic Conduction System in Reward Processing: Spotlight on the Anatomy and Functions of the Habenular Complex

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Review

The Dorsal Diencephalic Conduction System in Reward Processing: Spotlight on the Anatomy and Functions of the Habenular Complex

Marc Fakhoury. Behav Brain Res.

Abstract

The dorsal diencephalic conduction system (DDC) is a highly conserved pathway in vertebrates that provides a route for the neural information to flow from forebrain to midbrain structures. It contains the bilaterally paired habenular nuclei along with two fiber tracts, the stria medullaris and the fasciculus retroflexus. The habenula is the principal player in mediating the dialogue between forebrain and midbrain regions, and functional abnormalities in this structure have often been attributed to pathologies like mood disorders and substance use disorder. Following Matsumoto and Hikosaka seminal work on the lateral habenula as a source of negative reward signals, the last decade has witnessed a great surge of interest in the role of the DDC in reward-related processes. However, despite significant progress in research, much work remains to unfold the behavioral functions of this intriguing, yet complex, pathway. This review describes the current state of knowledge on the DDC with respect to its anatomy, connectivity, and functions in reward and aversion processes.

Keywords: Aversion; Dopamine; Dorsal diencephalic conduction system; Habenula; Reward; Serotonin.

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