Inflammation can profoundly impact motivated behavior, as is the case with inflammation-induced depression. By evaluating objectively measurable basic neurobehavioral processes involved in motivation, recent research indicates that inflammation generally reduces approach motivation and enhances avoidance motivation. Increased effort valuation largely mediates the effects of inflammation on approach motivation. Changes in reward valuation are not uniformly observed in approach motivation. However, inflammation increases the averseness of negative stimuli. Within the context of both approach and avoidance motivation, inflammation appears to enhance the contrast between concurrently presented stimuli. While changes in both approach and avoidance motivation appear to be mediated by midbrain dopaminergic neurotransmission to the ventral striatum, it is unclear if the enhanced contrast is mediated by the same system.
Keywords: depression; fatigue; inflammation; motivation; negative valence systems; positive valence systems.