A new control center for dopaminergic systems: pulling the VTA by the tail
The tail of the ventral tegmental area (tVTA), also named the rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg), is a recently defined midbrain structure considered to exert a major inhibitory drive on dopamine systems. In view of its connectivity, tVTA is well placed to convey salient positive and negative signals to dopamine cells and participate in adaptative behavioral responses. This structure could act as a hub converging and integrating widespread multimodal signals toward dopamine systems. The tVTA participates in prediction error, motor control, and responses to aversive stimuli and drugs of abuse. In light of the crucial role of the tVTA in the opiate control of dopamine activity, a neuroanatomical update of the disinhibition model of morphine action is proposed.