Bipolar disorder (BD) is a debilitating psychiatric condition that commonly begins in adolescence, a developmental period that has been associated with increased reward seeking. Because youth with BD are especially vulnerable to negative risk-taking behaviors, understanding the neural mechanisms by which dysregulated affect interacts with the neurobehavioral processing of reward is clearly important. One way to clarify how manic symptoms evolve in BD is to "prime" the affect before presenting rewarding stimuli. The objective of this study was to investigate the neural effects of an affective priming task designed to positively induce mood before reward processing in adolescents with and without BD.Neural activity and behaviors during the anticipation of and response to monetary reward and loss after an affective prime were compared using functional magnetic resonance imaging in 13- to 18-year-old adolescents with a recent onset of BD-I (n = 24) and demographically matched healthy comparison youth (n = 24).Compared with the healthy control youth, youth with BD had speeded reaction times and showed decreased activation in the thalamus and inferior temporal gyrus while anticipating gains after priming but increased activations in the middle frontal gyrus and parietal cortices while anticipating losses after priming. Youth with BD also showed less activation in the inferior parietal lobule, thalamus, and superior frontal gyrus while receiving losses after priming.Aberrant prefrontal and subcortical activations during reward processing suggest mechanisms that may underlie disordered self-awareness during goal pursuit and motivation in BD. Longitudinal studies are needed to examine whether this pattern of neural activation predicts a poorer long-term outcome.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jaac.2012.10.004
View details for PubMedID 23265635