Image : Green fluorescent protein (GFP)-labeled habenular neurons send their axons to their target region, the interpeduncular nucleus (IPN). Cholinergic neurons (labeled in red) are located mainly in the right habenula.
Z-projection confocal images of a 6-day-old Tg(gng8:GFP) larva processed by fluorescent in situ hybridization for the vesicular acetylcholine transporter b (vachtb) transcript (in red).
Formation and function of the habenulo-IPN pathway
The habenulo-interpeduncular nucleus (Hb-IPN) pathway has recently been shown to play a role in the manifestation of aversive behaviors including stress, anxiety, fear and addiction. The habenula contains neurons that utilize different neurotransmitters, which project to distinct domains at its target area, the IPN. This suggests that the different populations of neurons may mediate distinct functions. We are interested in understanding the following questions:
1. How different populations of habenular neurons function and interact with one another.
2. How cholinergic neurons behave and its role in the development and function of the habenula.