Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 377, Issue 1, pp 59–71 | Cite as

Alterations and adaptation of ventral tegmental area dopaminergic neurons in animal models of depression

  • Jennifer KauflingEmail author


Depression is one of the most prevalent psychiatric diseases, affecting the quality of life of millions of people. Ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopaminergic (DA) neurons are notably involved in evaluating the emotional and motivational value of a stimulus, in detecting reward prediction errors, in motivated learning, or in the propensity to initiate or withhold an action. DA neurons are thus involved in psychopathologies associated with perturbations of emotional and motivational states, such as depression. In this review, we focus on adaptations/alterations of the VTA, particularly of the VTA DA neurons, in the three most frequently used animal models of depression: learned helplessness, chronic mild stress and chronic social defeat.


Ventral tegmental area Dopamine Depression Social stress Environmental stress 



We thank Dr. Barrot, Dr. Yalcin and Dr. Massotte (INCI CNRS UPR 2312) for critical comments on the manuscript.

Funding information

This work was supported by the CNRS (contract UPR3212), Université de Strasbourg and Strasbourg Neuropôle.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre National de la Recherche ScientifiqueInstitut des Neurosciences Cellulaires et IntégrativesStrasbourgFrance

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