The accumbens: beyond the core-shell dichotomy

J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 1997 Summer;9(3):354-81. doi: 10.1176/jnp.9.3.354.


This article highlights recent discoveries related to the accumbens and closely associated structures, with special reference to their importance in neuropsychiatry. The development of "striatal patches" in the accumbens is reviewed in a series of pictures. Neuronal ensembles are discussed as potentially important functional-anatomical units. Attention is also drawn to recent discoveries related to the neuronal circuits that the primate accumbens establishes with the mesencephalic dopamine system. On the basis of histological and neurochemical differences, the accumbens has been divided into core and shell compartments. In the context of this article, the shell, which is an especially diversified part of the accumbens, is the subject of special attention because of its close relation to the extended amygdala and distinctive response to antipsychotic and psychoactive drugs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / metabolism
  • Mental Disorders / pathology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Nervous System Diseases / metabolism
  • Nervous System Diseases / pathology*
  • Nervous System Diseases / psychology
  • Nucleus Accumbens / metabolism
  • Nucleus Accumbens / pathology*