Introduction: Reduced reactivity to pleasurable stimulation is a defining symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but trauma exposure also increases the severity of many anxiety and mood disorders, including depression, social anxiety, and panic disorder, suggesting that reward system dysfunction might be pervasive in the internalizing disorders. The ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and ventral striatum are core components of the reward circuit and the current study assesses functional activity and connectivity in this circuit during emotional picture viewing in anxiety and mood disorder patients. Method: Functional brain activity (fMRI) and functional connectivity in the fronto-striatal circuit were measured in a large sample of patients diagnosed with anxiety and mood disorders (n=155) during affective scene viewing as it varied with trauma exposure and temperament. Results: In women, but not men, blunted fronto-striatal connectivity was associated with increased posttraumatic anhedonic symptoms, whereas the amplitude of functional activity was not related to trauma exposure. In both men and women, reduced fronto-striatal connectivity was associated with decreases in temperamental positive affect. When predicting fronto-striatal connectivity, temperament and posttraumatic symptomology accounted for independent proportions of variance. Limitations: In this civilian sample of anxiety disorder patients, men reported very little trauma-related symptomology. Conclusions: Because dysfunctional reward processing due to trauma and temperament is pervasive across the internalizing disorder spectrum, assessing the integrity of the fronto-striatal reward circuit could provide important information in diagnostic and treatment protocols.

Trauma-related dysfunction in the fronto-striatal reward circuit

Sambuco N.;
2021

Abstract

Introduction: Reduced reactivity to pleasurable stimulation is a defining symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but trauma exposure also increases the severity of many anxiety and mood disorders, including depression, social anxiety, and panic disorder, suggesting that reward system dysfunction might be pervasive in the internalizing disorders. The ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and ventral striatum are core components of the reward circuit and the current study assesses functional activity and connectivity in this circuit during emotional picture viewing in anxiety and mood disorder patients. Method: Functional brain activity (fMRI) and functional connectivity in the fronto-striatal circuit were measured in a large sample of patients diagnosed with anxiety and mood disorders (n=155) during affective scene viewing as it varied with trauma exposure and temperament. Results: In women, but not men, blunted fronto-striatal connectivity was associated with increased posttraumatic anhedonic symptoms, whereas the amplitude of functional activity was not related to trauma exposure. In both men and women, reduced fronto-striatal connectivity was associated with decreases in temperamental positive affect. When predicting fronto-striatal connectivity, temperament and posttraumatic symptomology accounted for independent proportions of variance. Limitations: In this civilian sample of anxiety disorder patients, men reported very little trauma-related symptomology. Conclusions: Because dysfunctional reward processing due to trauma and temperament is pervasive across the internalizing disorder spectrum, assessing the integrity of the fronto-striatal reward circuit could provide important information in diagnostic and treatment protocols.
Sambuco N.; Bradley M.M.; Lang P.J.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/871552
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