The habenula in Parkinson's disease: Anatomy, function, and implications for mood disorders − A narrative review

Bedia Samanci*, Sonny Tan, Stijn Michielse, Mark L. Kuijf, Yasin Temel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Parkinson's disease (PD), a widespread neurodegenerative disorder, often coexists with mood disorders. Degeneration of serotonergic neurons in brainstem raphe nuclei have been linked to depression and anxiety. Additionally, the locus coeruleus and its noradrenergic neurons are among the first areas to degenerate in PD and contribute to stress, emotional memory, motor, sensory, and autonomic symptoms. Another brain region of interest is habenula, which is especially related to anti-reward processing, and its function has recently been linked to PD and to mood-related symptoms. There are several neuroimaging studies that investigated role of the habenula in mood disorders. Differences in habenular size and hemispheric symmetry were found in healthy controls compared to individuals with mood disorders. The lateral habenula, as a link between the dopaminergic and serotonergic systems, is thought to contribute to depressive symptoms in PD. However, there is only one imaging study about role of habenula in mood disorders in PD, although the relationship between PD and mood disorders is known. There is little known about habenula pathology in PD but given these observations, the question arises whether habenular dysfunction could play a role in PD and the development of PD-related mood disorders. In this review, we evaluate neuroimaging techniques and studies that investigated the habenula in the context of PD and mood disorders. Future studies are important to understand habenula's role in PD patients with mood disorders. Thus, new potential diagnostic and treatment opportunities would be found for mood disorders in PD.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102392
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Chemical Neuroanatomy
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


  • Habenula
  • Mood disorders
  • Neuroimaging
  • Parkinson’s disease


Dive into the research topics of 'The habenula in Parkinson's disease: Anatomy, function, and implications for mood disorders − A narrative review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this