Article

Activation of lateral habenula inputs to the ventral midbrain promotes behavioral avoidance.

University of North Carolina Neurobiology Curriculum, UNC Neuroscience Center, UNC at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
Nature Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 14.98). 06/2012; 15(8):1105-7. DOI: 10.1038/nn.3145
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Lateral habenula (LHb) projections to the ventral midbrain, including the rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg), convey negative reward-related information, but the behavioral ramifications of selective activation of this pathway remain unexplored. We found that exposure to aversive stimuli in mice increased LHb excitatory drive onto RMTg neurons. Furthermore, optogenetic activation of this pathway promoted active, passive and conditioned behavioral avoidance. Thus, activity of LHb efferents to the midbrain is aversive but can also serve to negatively reinforce behavioral responding.

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