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Medial prefrontal brain activation to anticipated reward and loss in obsessive-compulsive disorder.


ABSTRACT: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is associated with dysfunctional brain activity in several regions which are also involved in the processing of motivational stimuli. Processing of reward and punishment appears to be of special importance to understand clinical symptoms. There is evidence for higher sensitivity to punishment in patients with OCD which raises the question how avoidance of punishment relates to activity within the brain's reward circuitry. We employed the monetary incentive delay task paradigm optimized for modeling the anticipation phase of immediate reward and punishment, in the context of a cross-sectional event-related FMRI study comparing OCD patients and healthy control participants (n = 19 in each group). While overall behavioral performance was similar in both groups, patients showed increased activation upon anticipated losses in a medial and superior frontal cortex region extending into the cingulate cortex, and decreased activation upon anticipated rewards. No evidence was found for altered activation of dorsal or ventral striatal regions. Patients also showed more delayed responses for anticipated rewards than for anticipated losses whereas the reverse was true in healthy participants. The medial prefrontal cortex has been shown to implement a domain-general process comprising negative affect, pain and cognitive control. This process uses information about punishment to control aversively motivated actions by integrating signals arriving from subcortical regions. Our results support the notion that OCD is associated with altered sensitivity to anticipated rewards and losses in a medial prefrontal region whereas there is no significant aberrant activation in ventral or dorsal striatal brain regions during processing of reinforcement anticipation.

SUBMITTER: Kaufmann C 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3777673 | BioStudies | 2013-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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