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Critical Reviews™ in Neurobiology
SJR: 0.121

ISSN Print: 0892-0915
ISSN Online: 2375-0014

Archives: Volume 10, 1996 to Volume 20, 2008

Critical Reviews™ in Neurobiology

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevNeurobiol.v11.i4.40
pages 323-342

The Primate Substantia Nigra and VTA: Integrative Circuitry and Function

Suzanne N. Haber
Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, N.Y. 14642
Julie L. Fudge
Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, and Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, N.Y. 14642


A substantial amount of research has focused on the midbrain dopamine system and its role in mediating a wide range of behaviors. In diseases in which dopamine function is compromised, patients exhibit a constellation of symptoms suggesting that the dopamine system plays an important role in the integration of several functions. We have shown that there are subgroups of dopamine neurons that receive information from limbic and association areas and project widely throughout cortex and striatum, including motor areas. A dorsal tier of dopamine neurons receive input from the ventral (limbic) striatum and the amygdala and project widely throughout cortex. A more ventrally located group of dopamine cells receives input from both the limbic and association areas of striatum and project widely throughout the striatum including the sensorimotor regions. Through these projections the dopamine system can effect a wide range of behaviors. For the most part, structures of the basal ganglia are thought to be organized in parallel pathways. However, the behaviors affected by basal ganglia disorders can be in part explained by the integrative nature of the dopamine system and its links to motor, limbic, and association areas of the striatum and cortex.

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