Altered reward processing and cognitive deficits are often observed in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); however, whether the imbalance in activity between reward circuits and the cognitive control (CC) system is associated with compulsive behavior remains unknown. Sixty-eight OCD patients and 33 cognitively normal (CN) healthy subjects participated in this resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Alterations in the functional connectivity between reward circuits and the CC system were quantitatively assessed and compared between the groups. A Granger causality analysis was used to determine the causal informational influence between and within reward circuits and the CC system across all subjects. OCD patients showed a dichotomous pattern of enhanced functional coupling in their reward circuits and a weakened functional coupling in their CC system when compared to CN subjects. Neural correlates of compulsive behavior were primarily located in the reward circuits and CC system in OCD patients. Importantly, the CC system exerted a reduced interregional causal influence over the reward system in OCD patients relative to its effect in CN subjects. The limitations of this study are that it was a cross-sectional study and the potential effects of environmental and genetic factors were not explored. OCD patients showed an imbalance in the functional link between reward circuits and the CC system at rest. This bias toward a loss of control may define a pathological state in which subjects are more vulnerable to engaging in compulsive behaviors.
Brain Imaging and Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 23, 2016
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