The lateral habenula region of the brain is known for registering negative and aversive outcomes, including to drugs. A new report suggests that impairment of the lateral habenula contributes to the transition from controlled drug use to the compulsive use seen in addiction. Scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse Intramural Research Program found that shutting down activity in the lateral habenula increased rats’ persistence in efforts to obtain cocaine despite cues that they had learned to associate with no drug being available.
- Zapata, A. et al. Lateral Habenula Involvement in Impulsive Cocaine Seeking. Neuropsychopharmacology.