Peril and pleasure

An rdoc-inspired examination of threat responses and reward processing in anxiety and depression

Daniel G. Dillon, Isabelle M. Rosso, Pia Pechtel, William Killgore, Scott L. Rauch, Diego A. Pizzagalli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

70 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

As a step toward addressing limitations in the current psychiatric diagnostic system, the National Institute of Mental Health recently developed the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) to stimulate integrative research - spanning self-report, behavior, neural circuitry, and molecular/genetic mechanisms - on core psychological processes implicated in mental illness. Here, we use the RDoC conceptualization to review research on threat responses, reward processing, and their interaction. The first section of the manuscript highlights the pivotal role of exaggerated threat responses - mediated by circuits connecting the frontal cortex, amygdala, and midbrain - in anxiety, and reviews data indicating that genotypic variation in the serotonin system is associated with hyperactivity in this circuitry, which elevates the risk for anxiety and mood disorders. In the second section, we describe mounting evidence linking anhedonic behavior to deficits in psychological functions that rely heavily on dopamine signaling, especially cost/benefit decision making and reward learning. The third section covers recent studies that document negative effects of acute threats and chronic stress on reward responses in humans. The mechanisms underlying such effects are unclear, but the fourth section reviews new optogenetic data in rodents indicating that GABAergic inhibition of midbrain dopamine neurons, driven by activation of the habenula, may play a fundamental role in stress-induced anhedonia. In addition to its basic scientific value, a better understanding of interactions between the neural systems that mediate threat and reward responses may offer relief from the burdensome condition of anxious depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-249
Number of pages17
JournalDepression and Anxiety
Volume31
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Pleasure
Reward
Anxiety
Depression
Mesencephalon
Research
Optogenetics
Psychology
Habenula
Anhedonia
National Institute of Mental Health (U.S.)
Manuscripts
Dopaminergic Neurons
Frontal Lobe
Amygdala
Anxiety Disorders
Mood Disorders
Self Report
Cost-Benefit Analysis
Psychiatry

Keywords

  • amygdala
  • anxiety disorders
  • dopamine
  • mood disorders
  • reinforcement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology

Cite this

Peril and pleasure : An rdoc-inspired examination of threat responses and reward processing in anxiety and depression. / Dillon, Daniel G.; Rosso, Isabelle M.; Pechtel, Pia; Killgore, William; Rauch, Scott L.; Pizzagalli, Diego A.

In: Depression and Anxiety, Vol. 31, No. 3, 2014, p. 233-249.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Dillon, Daniel G. ; Rosso, Isabelle M. ; Pechtel, Pia ; Killgore, William ; Rauch, Scott L. ; Pizzagalli, Diego A. / Peril and pleasure : An rdoc-inspired examination of threat responses and reward processing in anxiety and depression. In: Depression and Anxiety. 2014 ; Vol. 31, No. 3. pp. 233-249.
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