Positive emotionality is associated with baseline metabolism in orbitofrontal cortex and in regions of the default network.

National Institute on Drug Abuse, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
Molecular Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 15.15). 04/2011; 16(8):818-25. DOI: 10.1038/mp.2011.30
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Positive emotionality (PEM) (personality construct of well-being, achievement/motivation, social and closeness) has been associated with striatal dopamine D2 receptor availability in healthy controls. As striatal D2 receptors modulate activity in orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and cingulate (brain regions that process natural and drug rewards), we hypothesized that these regions underlie PEM. To test this, we assessed the correlation between baseline brain glucose metabolism (measured with positron emission tomography and [(18)F]fluoro-deoxyglucose) and scores on PEM (obtained from the multidimensional personality questionnaire or MPQ) in healthy controls (n = 47). Statistical parametric mapping (SPM) analyses revealed that PEM was positively correlated (P(c)<0.05, voxel corrected) with metabolism in various cortical regions that included orbitofrontal (Brodman area, BA 11, 47) and cingulate (BA 23, 32) and other frontal (BA 10, 9), parietal (precuneus, BA 40) and temporal (BA 20, 21) regions that overlap with the brain's default mode network (DMN). Correlations with the other two main MPQ personality dimensions (negative emotionality and constraint) were not significant (SPM P(c)<0.05). Our results corroborate an involvement of orbitofrontal and cingulate regions in PEM, which is considered a trait that protects against substance use disorders. As dysfunction of OFC and cingulate is a hallmark of addiction, these findings support a common neural basis underlying protective personality factors and brain dysfunction underlying substance use disorders. In addition, we also uncovered an association between PEM and baseline metabolism in regions from the DMN, which suggests that PEM may relate to global cortical processes that are active during resting conditions (introspection, mind wandering).

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