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Increased fronto-striatal reward prediction errors moderate decision making in obsessive-compulsive disorder


Hauser, T U; Iannaccone, R; Dolan, R J; Ball, J; Hättenschwiler, J; Drechsler, R; Rufer, M; Brandeis, D; Walitza, S; Brem, S (2017). Increased fronto-striatal reward prediction errors moderate decision making in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Psychological Medicine, 47(07):1246-1258.

Abstract

BACKGROUND Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has been linked to functional abnormalities in fronto-striatal networks as well as impairments in decision making and learning. Little is known about the neurocognitive mechanisms causing these decision-making and learning deficits in OCD, and how they relate to dysfunction in fronto-striatal networks.
METHOD We investigated neural mechanisms of decision making in OCD patients, including early and late onset of disorder, in terms of reward prediction errors (RPEs) using functional magnetic resonance imaging. RPEs index a mismatch between expected and received outcomes, encoded by the dopaminergic system, and are known to drive learning and decision making in humans and animals. We used reinforcement learning models and RPE signals to infer the learning mechanisms and to compare behavioural parameters and neural RPE responses of the OCD patients with those of healthy matched controls.
RESULTS Patients with OCD showed significantly increased RPE responses in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the putamen compared with controls. OCD patients also had a significantly lower perseveration parameter than controls.
CONCLUSIONS Enhanced RPE signals in the ACC and putamen extend previous findings of fronto-striatal deficits in OCD. These abnormally strong RPEs suggest a hyper-responsive learning network in patients with OCD, which might explain their indecisiveness and intolerance of uncertainty.

Abstract

BACKGROUND Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has been linked to functional abnormalities in fronto-striatal networks as well as impairments in decision making and learning. Little is known about the neurocognitive mechanisms causing these decision-making and learning deficits in OCD, and how they relate to dysfunction in fronto-striatal networks.
METHOD We investigated neural mechanisms of decision making in OCD patients, including early and late onset of disorder, in terms of reward prediction errors (RPEs) using functional magnetic resonance imaging. RPEs index a mismatch between expected and received outcomes, encoded by the dopaminergic system, and are known to drive learning and decision making in humans and animals. We used reinforcement learning models and RPE signals to infer the learning mechanisms and to compare behavioural parameters and neural RPE responses of the OCD patients with those of healthy matched controls.
RESULTS Patients with OCD showed significantly increased RPE responses in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the putamen compared with controls. OCD patients also had a significantly lower perseveration parameter than controls.
CONCLUSIONS Enhanced RPE signals in the ACC and putamen extend previous findings of fronto-striatal deficits in OCD. These abnormally strong RPEs suggest a hyper-responsive learning network in patients with OCD, which might explain their indecisiveness and intolerance of uncertainty.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
04 Faculty of Medicine > Neuroscience Center Zurich
04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:9 January 2017
Deposited On:23 Jan 2017 11:42
Last Modified:19 Aug 2017 19:13
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:0033-2917
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291716003305
PubMed ID:28065182

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