The conserved habenular neural circuit relays cognitive information from the forebrain into the ventral mid- and hindbrain. In zebrafish, the bilaterally formed habenulae in the dorsal diencephalon are made up of the asymmetric dorsal and symmetric ventral habenular nuclei, which are homologous to the medial and lateral nuclei respectively, in mammals. These structures have been implicated in various behaviors related to the serotonergic/dopaminergic neurotransmitter system. The dorsal habenulae develop adjacent to the medially positioned pineal complex. Their precursors differentiate into two main neuronal subpopulations which differ in size across brain hemispheres as signals from left-sided parapineal cells influence their differentiation program. Unlike the dorsal habenulae and despite their importance, the ventral habenulae have been poorly studied. It is not known which genetic programs underlie their development and why they are formed symmetrically, unlike the dorsal habenulae. A main reason for this lack of knowledge is that the vHb origin has remained elusive to date.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Neuroscience