Aberrant effective connectivity in schizophrenia patients during appetitive conditioning
- 1 Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada
- 2 Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
- 3 Schizophrenia Program and Positron Emission Tomography Centre, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, ON, Canada
- 4 Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charité Universitätsmedizin, Berlin, Germany
- 5 Department of Biological Psychiatry, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
- 6 Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, London, UK
It has recently been suggested that schizophrenia involves dysfunction in brain connectivity at a neural level, and a dysfunction in reward processing at a behavioral level. The purpose of the present study was to link these two levels of analyses by examining effective connectivity patterns between brain regions mediating reward learning in patients with schizophrenia and healthy, age-matched controls. To this aim, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging and galvanic skin recordings (GSR) while patients and controls performed an appetitive conditioning experiment with visual cues as the conditioned (CS) stimuli, and monetary reward as the appetitive unconditioned stimulus (US). Based on explicit stimulus contingency ratings, conditioning occurred in both groups; however, based on implicit, physiological GSR measures, patients failed to show differences between CS+ and CS− conditions. Healthy controls exhibited increased blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) activity across striatal, hippocampal, and prefrontal regions and increased effective connectivity from the ventral striatum to the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC BA 11) in the CS+ compared to the CS− condition. Compared to controls, patients showed increased BOLD activity across a similar network of brain regions, and increased effective connectivity from the striatum to hippocampus and prefrontal regions in the CS− compared to the CS+ condition. The findings of increased BOLD activity and effective connectivity in response to the CS− in patients with schizophrenia offer insight into the aberrant assignment of motivational salience to non-reinforced stimuli during conditioning that is thought to accompany schizophrenia.
Keywords: schizophrenia, appetitive conditioning, fMRI, effective connectivity
Citation: Diaconescu AO, Jensen J, Wang H, Willeit M, Menon M, Kapur S and McIntosh AR (2011) Aberrant effective connectivity in schizophrenia patients during appetitive conditioning. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 4:239. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2010.00239
Received: 07 September 2010;
Paper pending published: 12 October 2010;
Accepted: 25 December 2010;
Published online: 17 January 2011.
Copyright: © 2011 Diaconescu, Jensen, Wang, Willeit, Menon, Kapur and McIntosh. This is an open-access article subject to an exclusive license agreement between the authors and the Frontiers Research Foundation, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original authors and source are credited.
*Correspondence: Andreea Oliviana Diaconescu, Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Centre, 3560 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON, Canada M6A 2E1.e-mail: email@example.com