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Annotation

Li B, Piriz J, Mirrione M, Chung C, Proulx CD, Schulz D, Henn F, Malinow R. Synaptic potentiation onto habenula neurons in the learned helplessness model of depression. Nature . 2011 Feb 24 ; 470(7335):535-9. PubMed Abstract

Comments on Paper and Primary News
Primary News: Synaptic Hyperactivity in the Lateral Habenula Linked to Depression

Comment by:  Alexander SartoriusAndreas Meyer-Lindenberg
Submitted 16 March 2011 Posted 16 March 2011

Deep midline structures of our brain seem to contribute considerably to risk for psychiatric illnesses (Northoff et al., 2010). The lateral habenula could be a bottleneck of information flow between midline and cortical structures. Since efferents of the lateral habenula influence all three monoaminergic systems, a contribution to depression risk has been hypothesized (Sartorius and Henn, 2007). One efferent pathway projects via the rostromedial tegmental nucleus to the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Dopaminergic neurons then project to the ventral striatum, reflecting a major part of the brain’s reward system.

The paper by Li et al. further characterizes this pathway by means of electrophysiology and narrows the gap to human depression. It is the first time that not only overactivation of the whole structure but excessive firing rates of specific neurons within the structure were observed in an animal model of depression. Furthermore, dendritic spine density of VTA-projecting...  Read more


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