Ventral tegmentum

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Brain: Ventral tegmentum
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Transverse section of mid-brain at level of superior colliculi. (Tegmentum labeled at center right.)
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Overview

The ventral tegmentum or the ventral tegmental area (VTA) (tegmentum, Latin for covering) is part of the midbrain, lying close to the substantia nigra and the red nucleus.

Pathways

The VTA consists of dopamine, GABA, and glutamate neurons, and is part of two major dopamine pathways:

  1. the mesolimbic pathway, which connects the VTA to the nucleus accumbens
  2. the mesocortical pathway, which connects the VTA to cortical areas in the frontal lobes.

Functions

The ventral tegmentum is considered to be part of the pleasure system, or reward circuit, one of the major sources of incentive and behavioural motivation. Activities that produce pleasure tend to activate the ventral tegmentum, and psychostimulant drugs (such as cocaine) directly target this area. Hence, it is widely implicated in neurobiological theories of addiction.

It is also shown to process various types of emotion and security motivation, where it may also play a role in avoidance and fear-conditioning.

Presence of Gap Junctions

The VTA has been shown have have a large network of GABA neurons that are interconnected via Gap junctions.

See also

External links

  • Oades R, Halliday G (1987). "Ventral tegmental (A10) system: neurobiology. 1. Anatomy and connectivity". Brain Res. 434 (2): 117–65. PMID 3107759. (file not found!)
  • Swanson, L.W. (1982). "The projections of the ventral tegmental area and adjacent regions: a combined fluorescent retrograde tracer and immunofluorescence study in the rat". Brain Res. 9: 321–53. PMID 6816390.
  • Yamaguchi T, Sheen W, and Morales M. (2007). "Glutamatergic neurons are present in the rat ventral tegmental area". Eur J Neuroscience. 25: 106–118. PMID 17241272.
  • Scripps Research article about Serotonin Receptors and Drug Abuse, regarding the serotonin-laden VTA.



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