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This article is part of the Research Topic

Lateral Habenula: Role in Depression and Addiction

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Front. Synaptic Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnsyn.2018.00012

A Focus on Reward Prediction and the Lateral Habenula: Functional Alterations and the Behavioral Outcomes Induced by Drugs of Abuse

 Nicholas M. Graziane1*, Peter A. Neumann2 and  Yan Dong3
  • 1Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine and Pharmacology, College of Medicine, Pennsylvania State University, United States
  • 2Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, Stanford University, United States
  • 3Neuroscience and Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, United States

The lateral habenula (LHb) regulates reward learning and controls the updating of reward-related information. Drugs of abuse have the capacity to hijack the cellular and neurocircuit mechanisms mediating reward learning, forming non-adaptable, compulsive behaviors geared toward obtaining illicit substances. Here, we discuss current findings demonstrating how drugs of abuse alter intrinsic and synaptic LHb neuronal function. Additionally, we discuss evidence for how drug-induced LHb alterations may affect the ability to predict reward, potentially facilitating an addiction-like state. Altogether, we combine ex vivo and in vivo results for an overview of how drugs of abuse alter LHb function and how these functional alterations affect the ability to learn and update behavioral responses to hedonic external stimuli.

Keywords: Lateral habenula, Addiction, Reward, Learning, drugs of abuse, Neurocircuits

Received: 29 Mar 2018; Accepted: 09 May 2018.

Edited by:

Fereshteh S. Nugent, F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University, United States

Reviewed by:

Carl R. Lupica, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), United States
Howard Fields, University of California, San Francisco, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Graziane, Neumann and Dong. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Nicholas M. Graziane, College of Medicine, Pennsylvania State University, Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine and Pharmacology, 500 University Dr, Mail Code H187, Hershey, 17033, PA- PENNSYLVANIA, United States, ngraziane@pennstatehealth.psu.edu