Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Mesolimbic Dopaminergic Projections

  • Rory McQuistonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_335


Ventral tegmental area


The mesolimbic dopamine system arises from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the midbrain located medial to the substantia nigra and ventral to the red nucleus. The VTA dopaminergic neurons are controlled by inputs from throughout the central nervous system. In turn, VTA neurons project to limbic structures of the brain including the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex. The VTA dopaminergic projections are important for encoding rewarding stimuli in the nucleus accumbens and cognition in the prefrontal cortex. Drugs of abuse utilize the nucleus accumbens rewarding pathway and dopaminergic dysfunction in the prefrontal cortex may underlie some forms of schizophrenia.


References and Readings

  1. Fields, H. L., Hjelmstad, G. O., Margolis, E. B., & Nicola, S. M. (2007). Ventral tegmental area neurons in learned appetitive behavior and positive reinforcement. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 30, 289–316.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Anatomy and NeurobiologyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA