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Neuroscientists find overlooked brain area is an important locus of depression
Date:2/23/2011

ity," Henn states. Another priority, he says, is to better understand the mechanism of DBS in the habenula. "By applying DBS in the habenula, you're affecting the entire structure, and its entire population of neurons. We want to know which elements are critical in mediating the behavioral effect -- the relief of "depressed" symptoms -- that we have observed," Henn says.

The habenula projects not only to the VTA, but to other areas such as the Raphe nuclei, which produce serotonin, another neurotransmitter implicated in depression and which may control noradrenaline output in the brain as well. The team wants to know how the lateral habenula coordinates the activity of all three -- dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline -- to fully understand the LHb's role in depression. Li says he intends to use highly specific methods including optogenetics to dissect different pathways of interest in the model.


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Contact: Peter Tarr
tarr@cshl.edu
516-367-8455
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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