Bianco, I.H., and Wilson, S.W. (2009) The habenular nuclei: a conserved asymmetric relay station in the vertebrate brain. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences. 364(1519):1005-1020.
The dorsal diencephalon, or epithalamus, contains the bilaterally paired habenular nuclei and the pineal complex. The habenulae form part of the dorsal diencephalic conduction (DDC) system, a highly conserved pathway found in all vertebrates. In this review, we shall describe the neuroanatomy of the DDC, consider its physiology and behavioural involvement, and discuss examples of neural asymmetries within both habenular circuitry and the pineal complex. We will discuss studies in zebrafish, which have examined the organization and development of this circuit, uncovered how asymmetry is represented at the level of individual neurons and determined how such left-right differences arise during development.