Research Topic

The Habenula and Its Role in Neuropsychiatric Symptoms

About this Research Topic

The habenula is a small epithalamic structure that is critically involved in the control of major neurotransmitters, such as the cholinergic and monoaminergic (i.e. dopamine, serotonin, noradrenaline/norepinephrine) systems. The role of the habenula in depression and addiction is being investigated intensively. However, the habenula is involved in a wide range of behaviors (e.g. social behavior, circadian rhythms, eating behavior, reward processing, prediction of behavioral output, and subsequent correction) implicated in the neurobiology of a number of psychiatric disorders and neuropsychiatric symptoms. Recent findings confirmed the importance of the habenula in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, and eating disorders and implicated the habenula in neuropsychiatric symptoms such as sleep disturbances, cognitive flexibility, and agitation/aggressive behavior. Thus, this timely special issue will provide the space and opportunity for an up to date discussion of the important and broad role of the habenula in the various neuropsychiatric disorders and symptoms.

This Research Topic aims to broaden the understanding of the role of the habenula in the numerous psychiatric disorders themselves and in the neuropsychiatric symptoms (e.g. agitation, anxiety, apathy, cognitive inflexibility, hallucinations, depression, disinhibition, eating disturbances, euphoria, sleep disturbances) frequently encountered in the context of other disorders. Combining the expertise of both clinical as well as pre-clinical researchers will deepen our understanding of the importance of the habenula and open new exciting avenues for potential clinical intervention.

This Research Topic deals with research related to all the various neuropsychiatric symptoms and the key role of the habenula in their neurobiological underpinnings and all manuscripts (review and research) that investigate/elucidate the role of the habenula in neuropsychiatric symptoms are welcome. Some suggested topics include:

Clinical investigations:

• Neuroimaging findings that link the habenula to neuropsychiatric symptoms, using:
• Resting-state connectivity
• Structural connectivity
• MRI volume estimation
• The microstructure of the habenula
• Therapeutic interventions that target the habenula

Pre-clinical investigations:

• Studies that elucidate the role of the habenula in neuropsychiatric symptoms
• Investigations of the anatomy of the habenula and its connections
• Manipulation of habenula activity/function, using:
• Pharmacological approaches
• Opto/chemo-genetics
• Circuit Manipulation of afferent and efferent connections


Keywords: Psychiatric disorder, Reward & motivation, Monoaminergic system, Neuroimaging, Neuromodulation


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The habenula is a small epithalamic structure that is critically involved in the control of major neurotransmitters, such as the cholinergic and monoaminergic (i.e. dopamine, serotonin, noradrenaline/norepinephrine) systems. The role of the habenula in depression and addiction is being investigated intensively. However, the habenula is involved in a wide range of behaviors (e.g. social behavior, circadian rhythms, eating behavior, reward processing, prediction of behavioral output, and subsequent correction) implicated in the neurobiology of a number of psychiatric disorders and neuropsychiatric symptoms. Recent findings confirmed the importance of the habenula in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, and eating disorders and implicated the habenula in neuropsychiatric symptoms such as sleep disturbances, cognitive flexibility, and agitation/aggressive behavior. Thus, this timely special issue will provide the space and opportunity for an up to date discussion of the important and broad role of the habenula in the various neuropsychiatric disorders and symptoms.

This Research Topic aims to broaden the understanding of the role of the habenula in the numerous psychiatric disorders themselves and in the neuropsychiatric symptoms (e.g. agitation, anxiety, apathy, cognitive inflexibility, hallucinations, depression, disinhibition, eating disturbances, euphoria, sleep disturbances) frequently encountered in the context of other disorders. Combining the expertise of both clinical as well as pre-clinical researchers will deepen our understanding of the importance of the habenula and open new exciting avenues for potential clinical intervention.

This Research Topic deals with research related to all the various neuropsychiatric symptoms and the key role of the habenula in their neurobiological underpinnings and all manuscripts (review and research) that investigate/elucidate the role of the habenula in neuropsychiatric symptoms are welcome. Some suggested topics include:

Clinical investigations:

• Neuroimaging findings that link the habenula to neuropsychiatric symptoms, using:
• Resting-state connectivity
• Structural connectivity
• MRI volume estimation
• The microstructure of the habenula
• Therapeutic interventions that target the habenula

Pre-clinical investigations:

• Studies that elucidate the role of the habenula in neuropsychiatric symptoms
• Investigations of the anatomy of the habenula and its connections
• Manipulation of habenula activity/function, using:
• Pharmacological approaches
• Opto/chemo-genetics
• Circuit Manipulation of afferent and efferent connections


Keywords: Psychiatric disorder, Reward & motivation, Monoaminergic system, Neuroimaging, Neuromodulation


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 October 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 October 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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