Major depressive disorder is characterized by greater reward network activation to monetary than pleasant image rewards.
Anhedonia, the loss of interest or pleasure in normally rewarding activities, is a hallmark feature of unipolar Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). A growing body of literature has identified frontostriatal dysfunction during reward anticipation and outcomes in MDD. However, no study to date has directly compared responses to different types of rewards such as pleasant images and monetary rewards in MDD. To investigate the neural responses to monetary and pleasant image rewards in MDD, a modified Monetary Incentive Delay task was used during functional magnetic resonance imaging to assess neural responses during anticipation and receipt of monetary and pleasant image rewards. Participants included nine adults with MDD and 13 affectively healthy controls. The MDD group showed lower activation than controls when anticipating monetary rewards in right orbitofrontal cortex and subcallosal cortex, and when anticipating pleasant image rewards in paracingulate and supplementary motor cortex. The MDD group had relatively greater activation in right putamen when anticipating monetary versus pleasant image rewards, relative to the control group. Results suggest reduced reward network activation in MDD when anticipating rewards, as well as relatively greater hypoactivation to pleasant image than monetary rewards.
Smoski, MJ; Rittenberg, A; Dichter, GS
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