The role of the nucleus accumbens and rostral anterior cingulate cortex in anhedonia: integration of resting EEG, fMRI, and volumetric techniques

Neuroimage. 2009 May 15;46(1):327-37. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.01.058. Epub 2009 Feb 6.


Anhedonia, the reduced propensity to experience pleasure, is a promising endophenotype and vulnerability factor for several psychiatric disorders, including depression and schizophrenia. In the present study, we used resting electroencephalography, functional magnetic resonance imaging, and volumetric analyses to probe putative associations between anhedonia and individual differences in key nodes of the brain's reward system in a non-clinical sample. We found that anhedonia, but not other symptoms of depression or anxiety, was correlated with reduced nucleus accumbens (NAcc) responses to rewards (gains in a monetary incentive delay task), reduced NAcc volume, and increased resting delta current density (i.e., decreased resting activity) in the rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC), an area previously implicated in positive subjective experience. In addition, NAcc reward responses were inversely associated with rACC resting delta activity, supporting the hypothesis that delta might be lawfully related to activity within the brain's reward circuit. Taken together, these results help elucidate the neural basis of anhedonia and strengthen the argument for anhedonia as an endophenotype for depression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology*
  • Anxiety / physiopathology
  • Depression / physiopathology
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiology*
  • Reward*
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted