Cross-species affective functions of the medial forebrain bundle-Implications for the treatment of affective pain and depression in humans

Volker A. Coenen, Thomas E. Schlaepfer, Burkhard Maedler, Jaak Panksepp

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Major depression (MD) might be conceptualized as pathological under-arousal of positive affective systems as parts of a network of brain regions assessing, reconciling and storing emotional stimuli versus an over-arousal of parts of the same network promoting separation-distress/GRIEF. In this context depression can be explained as an emotional pain state that is the result of a disregulation of several sub-systems that under physiological conditions are concerned with bodily or emotional homeostasis of the human organism in a social context. Physiologically, homeostasis is maintained by influences of the SEEKING system represented - amongst others - by the medial forebrain bundle (MFB). Neuroimaging studies show that the MFB has a proven access to the GRIEF/Sadness system. A functional decoupling of these systems with a dysfunctional GRIEF pathway might result in MD. Therewith GRIEF and SEEKING/PLEASURE systems play important roles as opponents in maintenance of emotional homeostasis. Chronic electrical modulation of the reward SEEKING pathways with deep brain stimulation might show anti-depressive effects in humans suffering from MD by re-initiating an emotional equilibrium (of higher or lower activity) between these opposing systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1971-1981
Number of pages11
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Volume35
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011

Keywords

  • Appetitive motivation
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Electric field simulation
  • Electrical self stimulation
  • Emotion
  • GRIEF
  • Homeostasis
  • Human
  • Major depression
  • Medial forebrain bundle
  • PANIC
  • PLEASURE
  • Pain
  • SADNESS
  • SEEKING
  • Separation distress
  • Tractography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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