Tract-Specific White Matter Correlates of Age-Related Reward Devaluation Deficits in Macaque Monkeys

Daniel T. Gray, Lavanya Umapathy, Sara N. Burke, Theodore P. Trouard and Carol A. Barnes

Abstract

Aim: Cognitive aging is known to alter reward-guided behaviors that require interactions between the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and amygdala. In macaques, OFC, but not amygdala volumes decline with age and correlate with performance on a reward devaluation (RD) task. The present study used diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) methods to investigate whether the condition of the white matter associated with amygdala-OFC connectivity changes with age and relates to reward devaluation.
Methods: Diffusion-, T1- and T2-weighted MRIs were acquired from adult and aged bonnet macaques. Using probabilistic tractography, fractional anisotropy (FA) estimates from two separate white matter tracts associated with amygdalaOFC connectivity, the uncinate fasciculus (UF) and amygdalofugal (AF) pathways, were obtained. Performance measures on RD and reversal learning (RL) tasks were also acquired and related to FA indices from each anatomical tract.
Results: Aged monkeys were impaired on both the RD and RL tasks and had lower FA indices in the AF pathway. Higher FA indices from the right hemisphere UF pathway correlated with better performance on an object-based RD task, whereas higher FA indices from the right hemisphere AF were associated with better performance on an object-free version of the task. FA measures from neither tract correlated with RL performance.
Conclusions: These results suggest that the condition of the white matter connecting the amygdala and OFC may impact reward devaluation behaviors. Furthermore, the observation that FA indices from the UF and AF differentially relate to reward devaluation suggests that the amygdala-OFC interactions that occur via these separate tracts are partially independent.

Published on: July 19. 2018
doi: 10.17756/jnpn.2018-023
Citation:  Gray DT, Umapathy L, Burke SN,Trouard TP, Barnes CA. 2018. Tract-Specific White Matter Correlates of Age-Related Reward Devaluation Deficits in Macaque Monkeys. J. J Neuroimaging Psychiatry Neurol 3(2): 13-26.

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