3 years ago

Association between habenula dysfunction and motivational symptoms in unmedicated major depressive disorder.

Roiser JP, Valton V, Liu WH, Wang LZ, Zhu YH
The lateral habenula plays a central role in reward and punishment processing and has been suggested to drive the cardinal symptom of anhedonia in depression. This hypothesis is largely based on observations of habenula hypermetabolism in animal models of depression, but the activity of habenula and its relationship with clinical symptoms in patients with depression remains unclear. High-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and computational modelling were used to investigate the activity of the habenula during a probabilistic reinforcement learning task with rewarding and punishing outcomes in 21 unmedicated patients with major depression and 17 healthy participants. High-resolution anatomical scans were also acquired to assess group differences in habenula volume. Healthy individuals displayed the expected activation in the left habenula during receipt of punishment and this pattern was confirmed in the computational analysis of prediction error processing. In depressed patients, there was a trend towards attenuated left habenula activation to punishment, while greater left habenula activation was associated with more severe depressive symptoms and anhedonia. We also identified greater habenula volume in patients with depression, which was associated with anhedonic symptoms. Habenula dysfunction may contribute to abnormal response to punishment in patients with depression, and symptoms such as anhedonia.

Publisher URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28575424

DOI: PubMed:28575424

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