Role of habenula in reward circuitry?


The habenula plays a notable role in the brain's reward circuitry by providing inhibitory input to the mesolimbic reward pathway, which is rich in dopamine-releasing neurons. This pathway includes areas like the ventral segmental area and the nucleus accumbens. The habenula's function is to regulate the reward pathway by inhibiting it, which can influence mood and motivation, acting in some ways as an antidepressant under certain conditions 1.

For instance, during the use of ketamine, which is known to lessen the inhibitory output from the habenula, the reward pathway becomes more receptive to engagement from daily life activities. However, the effects of such a modulation highly depend on reinforcing these neural circuit changes with appropriate behaviors and activities that stimulate the reward circuitry. This ensures that the changes induced by drug treatments like ketamine are beneficial and sustained in the context of mental health 1.

Understanding Disappointment

Andrew explains the connection between the habenula and the brain's reward circuitry, shedding light on how disappointment is generated. He also discusses the role of ketamine in reducing inhibition and the importance of engaging in adaptive behaviors for long-term mental health.

Huberman Lab

Ketamine: Benefits and Risks for Depression, PTSD & Neuroplasticity | Huberman Lab Podcast