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Papers of the Week

Papers: 6 May 2023 - 12 May 2023


Human Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology, Neuroimaging

Inflammation/Inflammatory, Musculoskeletal Pain

2023 Apr 29



Altered Functional Networks during Gain Anticipation in Fibromyalgia.


Park SH, Michael AM, Baker AK, Lei C, Martucci KT


Reward motivation is essential in shaping human behavior and cognition. Previous studies have shown altered reward motivation and reward brain circuitry in chronic pain conditions, including fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, cognitive problems, and mood-related symptoms. In this study, we analyzed brain reward networks in patients with fibromyalgia by using a data-driven approach with task-based fMRI data. fMRI data from 24 patients with fibromyalgia and 24 healthy controls were acquired while subjects performed a monetary incentive delay (MID) reward task. Functional networks were derived using independent component analysis (ICA) focused on the gain anticipation phase of the reward task. Functional activity in the motor, value-driven attention, and basal ganglia networks was evaluated during gain anticipation in both patient and healthy control groups. Compared to controls, the motor network was more engaged during gain anticipation in patients with fibromyalgia. Our findings suggest that reward motivation may lead to hyperactivity in the motor network, possibly related to altered motor processing, such as restricted movement or dysregulated motor planning in fibromyalgia. As an exploratory analysis, we compared levels of motor network engagement during early and late timepoints of the gain anticipation phase. Both groups showed greater motor network engagement during the late timepoint (i.e., closer to response), which reflected motor preparation prior to target response. Importantly, compared to controls and consistent with the initial findings described above, patients exhibited greater engagement of the motor network during both early and late timepoints. In summary, by using a novel data-driven ICA approach to analyze task-based fMRI data, we identified elevated motor network engagement during gain anticipation in fibromyalgia.