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Ventral tegmentum

Brain: Ventral tegmentum
Transverse section of mid-brain at level of superior colliculi. (Tegmentum labeled at center right.)
NeuroNames hier-512

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.



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.


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

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ventral_tegmentum". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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