Avolition, a deficit in goal-directed behavior, is a key aspect of negative symptoms. It is highly prevalent in schizophrenia and is associated to poor functional outcome and to measures of real life motivation, indicating that central to the concept is the lack of interest and motivation. In this study we tested the hypothesis that avolition is related to altered connectivity within dopaminergic cortico-striatal circuits involved in motivation processes. Since dopamine input to these circuits derives mostly from the ventro-tegmental area (VTA), we investigated the relationships between the resting-state functional connectivity (RS-FC) of the VTA and avolition in twenty-six subjects with schizophrenia (SCZ), treated with second-generation antipsychotics only, compared to twenty-two healthy controls (HC). SCZ, in comparison to HC, showed significantly reduced RS-FC of the VTA with bilateral ventro-lateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC), bilateral insular cortex (IC) and right (R) lateral occipital complex (LOC) and increased RS-FC of the VTA with bilateral dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Significant negative correlations were found between avolition and RS-FC of the VTA with the bilateral IC, R VLPFC and R LOC. According to our findings, avolition is linked to a disconnectivity of the VTA from several key cortical regions involved in the integration of value information with action selection. These findings are in line with translational animal models of “auto-activation apathy”.
|Titolo:||Functional connectivity of the ventral tegmental area and avolition in subjects with schizophrenia: a resting state functional MRI study|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2018|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|