Rostral medial prefrontal dysfunctions and consummatory pleasure in schizophrenia: a meta-analysis of functional imaging studies

Psychiatry Res. 2015 Mar 30;231(3):187-96. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2015.01.001. Epub 2015 Jan 12.


A large number of imaging studies have examined the neural correlates of consummatory pleasure and anticipatory pleasure in schizophrenia, but the brain regions where schizophrenia patients consistently demonstrate dysfunctions remain unclear. We performed a series of meta-analyses on imaging studies to delineate the regions associated with consummatory and anticipatory pleasure dysfunctions in schizophrenia. Nineteen functional magnetic resonance imaging or positron emission tomography studies using whole brain analysis were identified through a literature search (PubMed and EBSCO; January 1990-February 2014). Activation likelihood estimation was performed using the GingerALE software. The clusters identified were obtained after controlling for the false discovery rate at p<0.05 and applying a minimum cluster size of 200 mm(3). It was found that schizophrenia patients exhibited decreased activation mainly in the rostral medial prefrontal cortex (rmPFC), the right parahippocampus/amygala, and other limbic regions (e.g., the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex, the putamen, and the medial globus pallidus) when consummating pleasure. Task instructions (feeling vs. stimuli) were differentially related to medial prefrontal dysfunction in schizophrenia. When patients anticipated pleasure, reduced activation in the left putamen was observed, despite the limited number of studies. Our findings suggest that the medial prefrontal cortex and limbic regions may play an important role in neural dysfunction underlying deficits in consummatory pleasure in schizophrenia.

Keywords: Activation likelihood estimation; Anticipatory pleasure; Consummatory pleasure; Medial prefrontal cortex; Schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Consummatory Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Pleasure / physiology*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Putamen / physiopathology
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*