Age associations with neural processing of reward anticipation in adolescents with bipolar disorders

Snežana Urošević, Monica M Luciana, Jonathan B Jensen, Eric A. Youngstrom, Kathleen M Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Reward/behavioral approach system hypersensitivity is implicated in bipolar disorders (BD) and in normative development during adolescence. Pediatric onset of BD is associated with a more severe illness course. However, little is known about neural processing of rewards in adolescents with BD or developmental (i.e., age) associations with activation of these neural systems. The present study aims to address this knowledge gap. The present sample included 21 adolescents with BD and 26 healthy adolescents, ages 13 to 19. Participants completed a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) protocol using the Monetary Incentive Delay (MID) task. Behavioral performance was similar between groups. Group differences in BOLD activation during target anticipation and feedback anticipation periods of the task were examined using whole-brain analyses, as were group differences in age effects. During both target anticipation and feedback anticipation, adolescents with BD, compared to adolescents without psychopathology, exhibited decreased engagement of frontal regions involved in cognitive control (i.e., dorsolateral prefrontal cortex). Healthy adolescents exhibited age-related decreases, while adolescents with BD exhibited age-related increases, in activity of other cognitive control frontal areas (i.e., right inferior frontal gyrus), suggesting altered development in the BD group. Longitudinal research is needed to examine potentially abnormal development of cognitive control during reward pursuit in adolescent BD and whether early therapeutic interventions can prevent these potential deviations from normative development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-485
Number of pages10
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The project and Snežana Urošević, Ph.D.'s work on the manuscript were supported by National Institute of Mental Health Grant K01 MH 093621 . This work was also supported by BTRC grants awarded to the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research ( P41 RR008079 , P41 EB015894 , and 1P30 NS076408 ), as well as by the University of Minnesota's Supercomputing Institute and Center for Neurobehavioral Development . The funding agencies had no involvement in study design, data collection and analyses, or in manuscript preparation and submission. Finally, the authors would like to thank Ruskin H. Hunt, Ph.D., for his consultation during data processing and analysis; Tate Halverson, Amanda Yeager, Lily Pfutzenreuter, and all the research staff that contributed to data collection; and especially the research participants and their families.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.


  • Adolescence
  • BAS dysregulation
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Reward
  • fMRI


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