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Habenula lesions alter synaptic plasticity within the fimbria-accumbens pathway in the rat.

Lecourtier, Lucas, Deschaux, O, Arnaud, C, Chessel, A, Kelly, Peter and Garcia, R (2006) Habenula lesions alter synaptic plasticity within the fimbria-accumbens pathway in the rat. Neuroscience, 141 (2). pp. 1025-1032. ISSN 0306-4522


Both the habenula and the nucleus accumbens, and especially the glutamatergic innervation of the latter from the hippocampus, have been hypothesized to be involved, in different ways, in the pathophysiology of cognitive disturbances in schizophrenia. Lesions of the habenula produce disturbances of memory and attention in experimental animals. As the habenular nuclei have been shown to influence the release of many neurotransmitters, both in the hippocampus and the nucleus accumbens, we examined in this study the effects of bilateral habenula lesions on the plasticity of the fimbria-nucleus accumbens pathway, by means of the long-term depression phenomenon in freely moving rats. Long-term depression, induced within the shell region of the nucleus accumbens by low-frequency stimulation of the fimbria, was exaggerated and showed greater persistence in habenula-lesioned rats compared with sham-operated animals. These results indicate that plasticity in the fimbria-nucleus accumbens pathway is altered by habenula lesions in a way similar to previously-reported effects of stress and the psychosis-provoking agent ketamine. Moreover, they strengthen the views that the habenula belongs to systems, mediating higher cognitive functions, which involve the hippocampus and the nucleus accumbens. Finally, this study suggests that dysfunction of the habenula could contribute to cognitive alterations in diseases such as schizophrenia, where the habenula is reported to exhibit exaggerated calcification.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: author can archive post-print (ie final draft post-refereeing); Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
Keywords: fimbria–accumbens field potentials; long-term depression; behaving rats; habenula-schizophrenia model
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Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2009 14:00
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2009 14:00