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Annotation

Robinson OJ, Overstreet C, Charney DR, Vytal K, Grillon C. Stress increases aversive prediction error signal in the ventral striatum. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A . 2013 Feb 11 ; PubMed Abstract

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Comment by:  James Gold, SRF AdvisorGregory StraussJames A. Waltz
Submitted 26 February 2013 Posted 26 February 2013

A recent report from Robinson and colleagues provides evidence that induced stress enhances aversive, but not appetitive, prediction error (PE) signaling in the ventral striatum (VS). This paper helps to potentially integrate findings from the human and nonhuman animal literatures, where non-rewarding salient events seem to "paradoxically" evoke reward system activation (Zink et al., 2003), including dopamine release (Horvitz, 2000). Robinson et al. show that a threatening environment may enhance the negative PE signal in the VS, at the expense of the positive PE signal, by biasing attention toward negative outcomes.

The finding by Robinson et al. has clear relevance for anxiety disorders, where enhanced processing of threat is thought to be a fundamental pathophysiological mechanism. Might these findings have relevance for schizophrenia? At first glance, one might think that this process could be involved as people begin to become psychotic. It is thought that stress is a critical...  Read more


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