Compelling evidence has shown a pivotal role of dopaminergic function in drug addiction. Recently, the Habenula (Hb) has attracted a great deal of attention as another target for nicotine in the brain because of its role in regulating dopamine (DA), gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and serotonin (5-HT) systems. Nicotine acts binding to acetylcholine receptors that are widely distributed in the brain. Interestingly, the receptor subtypes that mediate nicotine withdrawal responses are highly expressed in the Hb. Moreover, the block of habenular nicotinic receptors in animals chronically treated with nicotine enhances withdrawal responses once nicotine is discontinued. Furthermore, it has been shown how a high dose of nicotine can cause massive degeneration almost exclusively in the medial habenula (MHb) and its output tract, the fasciculus retroflexus. Thus, symptoms associated with nicotine withdrawal may be caused by dysfunctions of the Hb output. Therefore, Hb might be of fundamental importance in the expression of nicotine reinforcing properties and withdrawal. Here, we will focus on the role of the lateral habenula (LHb) on nicotine modulation of DA function and we will evaluate LHb interaction with the rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg), a GABAergic area, and the serotonergic raphé nuclei. Furthermore, as LHb has high density expression of 5-HT 2C receptors, these subtypes might be important in the control of its neuronal activity and output to the midbrain monoaminergic and GABAergic systems.
|Numero di pagine||6|
|Rivista||Malta Medical Journal|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2011|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes