Amphetamine-induced hyperdopaminergia in the ventral striatum has been reported and is associated with local haemodynamic hypoactivation in patients with schizophrenia. However, few studies have been specifically designed to examine the neural mechanisms for affective and social incentives in patients with schizophrenia.
Dr. Raymond Chan and his team from the Neuropsychology and Applied Cognitive Neuroscience (NACN) Laboratory, CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences have investigated the potential unique neural mechanisms of monetary incentives delay(MID) and affective incentives delay (AID)tasks inpatients with schizophrenia and their unaffected first-degree relatives. They administered these two tasks to 26 patients with schizophrenia and 26 healthy controls, 23 unaffected first-degree relatives and 23 matched healthy controls in a 3-Tesla MRI scanner. The findings showed that hypoactivation in the dorsal and ventral striatum when anticipating monetary incentives were observed in patients with schizophrenia and their unaffected first-degree relatives compared with healthy controls. Patients with schizophrenia also showed hyperactivation in the ventral striatum when receiving both monetary and affective incentives.
Taken together, these findings suggest that patients with schizophrenia showed distinct striatal activation patterns consisting of hypoactivation during the anticipation of monetary incentives and hyperactivation during the consummation of both affective and monetary incentives. Hyperactivation in the ventral striatum during the consummation of both monetary and affective incentives suggest the presence of disorganized striatal mesolimbic function and impaired common reward circuits in patients with schizophrenia. Furthermore, hypoactivation in the striatum during the anticipation of monetary incentives in unaffected first-degree relatives of schizophrenia patients suggest that impaired striatal activation may be present before the onset of illness and may be a candidate endophenotype of schizophrenia.
This study was supported by National Natural Science Foundation China, National Basic Research Programme of China, Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission Grant, Beijing Training Project for Leading Talents in Science and Technology, and the CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health.
The study is now published online in Schizophrenia Research
Li, Z.#, Yan, C. #, Lv, Q. Y., Yi, Z. H., Zhang, J. Y., Wang, J. H., Lui, S. S. Y., Xu, Y. F., Cheung, E. F. C., Gur, R. E., Gur, R. C., Chan, R. C. K.* (2017). Striatal dysfunction in patients with schizophrenia and their unaffected first-degree relatives. Schizophrenia Research, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2017.08.043 (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0920996417305194)
Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences