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Dopamine modulates the functional organization of the orbitofrontal cortex


Kahnt, Thorsten; Tobler, Philippe N (2017). Dopamine modulates the functional organization of the orbitofrontal cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 2827-16:1-31.

Abstract

Neuromodulators such as dopamine can alter the intrinsic firing properties of neurons, and may thereby change the configuration of larger functional circuits. The primate orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) receives dopaminergic input from midbrain nuclei, but the role of dopamine in the OFC is still unclear. Here we tested the idea that dopaminergic activity changes the pattern of connectivity between the OFC and the rest of the brain, and thereby reconfigures functional networks in the OFC. To this end, we combined double-blind, placebo-controlled pharmacology (D2 receptor [D2R] antagonist amisulpride) in humans with resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and clustering methods. In the placebo group, we replicated previously observed parcellations of the OFC into two and six subregions based on connectivity patterns with the rest of the brain. Most importantly, while the 2-fold clustering did not differ significantly between groups, blocking D2R receptors significantly changed the composition of the 6-fold parcellation, suggesting a dopamine-dependent reconfiguration of functional OFC subregions. Moreover, multivariate decoding analyses revealed that amisulpride changed the whole-brain connectivity patterns of individual OFC-subregions. In particular, D2R blockade shifted the balance of OFC connectivity from associative areas in the temporal and parietal lobe toward functional connectivity with the frontal cortex. In summary, our results suggest that dopamine alters the composition of functional OFC circuits, possibly indicating a broader role for neuromodulators in the dynamic reconfiguration of functional brain networks.
SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: A key role of any neuromodulator may be the reconfiguration of functional brain circuits. Here we test this idea with regard to dopamine and the organization of functional networks in the OFC. We show that blockade of dopamine D2-receptors has profound effects on the functional connectivity patterns of the OFC, yielding in altered connectivity-based subdivisions of this region. Our results suggest that dopamine changes the connectional configuration of the OFC, possibly leading to transitions between different operating modes that favor either sensory input or recurrent processing in the prefrontal cortex. More generally, our findings support a broader role for neuromodulators in the dynamic reconfiguration of functional brain networks and may have clinical implications for understanding the actions of antipsychotics.

Abstract

Neuromodulators such as dopamine can alter the intrinsic firing properties of neurons, and may thereby change the configuration of larger functional circuits. The primate orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) receives dopaminergic input from midbrain nuclei, but the role of dopamine in the OFC is still unclear. Here we tested the idea that dopaminergic activity changes the pattern of connectivity between the OFC and the rest of the brain, and thereby reconfigures functional networks in the OFC. To this end, we combined double-blind, placebo-controlled pharmacology (D2 receptor [D2R] antagonist amisulpride) in humans with resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and clustering methods. In the placebo group, we replicated previously observed parcellations of the OFC into two and six subregions based on connectivity patterns with the rest of the brain. Most importantly, while the 2-fold clustering did not differ significantly between groups, blocking D2R receptors significantly changed the composition of the 6-fold parcellation, suggesting a dopamine-dependent reconfiguration of functional OFC subregions. Moreover, multivariate decoding analyses revealed that amisulpride changed the whole-brain connectivity patterns of individual OFC-subregions. In particular, D2R blockade shifted the balance of OFC connectivity from associative areas in the temporal and parietal lobe toward functional connectivity with the frontal cortex. In summary, our results suggest that dopamine alters the composition of functional OFC circuits, possibly indicating a broader role for neuromodulators in the dynamic reconfiguration of functional brain networks.
SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: A key role of any neuromodulator may be the reconfiguration of functional brain circuits. Here we test this idea with regard to dopamine and the organization of functional networks in the OFC. We show that blockade of dopamine D2-receptors has profound effects on the functional connectivity patterns of the OFC, yielding in altered connectivity-based subdivisions of this region. Our results suggest that dopamine changes the connectional configuration of the OFC, possibly leading to transitions between different operating modes that favor either sensory input or recurrent processing in the prefrontal cortex. More generally, our findings support a broader role for neuromodulators in the dynamic reconfiguration of functional brain networks and may have clinical implications for understanding the actions of antipsychotics.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:9 January 2017
Deposited On:25 Jan 2017 10:46
Last Modified:05 Aug 2017 07:47
Publisher:Society for Neuroscience
ISSN:0270-6474
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2827-16.2016
PubMed ID:28069917

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