Anterior cingulate activation and error processing during interferon-alpha treatment.

Lucile Capuron, Giuseppe Pagnoni, Marina Demetrashvili, Bobbi J. Woolwine, Charles B. Nemeroff, Gregory S. Berns, Andrew H. Miller
Biological Psychiatry. 2005-08-01; 58(3): 190-196
DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2005.03.033

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1. Biol Psychiatry. 2005 Aug 1;58(3):190-6.

Anterior cingulate activation and error processing during interferon-alpha

Capuron L(1), Pagnoni G, Demetrashvili M, Woolwine BJ, Nemeroff CB, Berns GS,
Miller AH.

Author information:
(1)Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of
Medicine, 1001 Woodruff Circle, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.

BACKGROUND: There has been increasing interest in the role of immunologic
processes, notably cytokines, in the development of behavioral alterations,
especially in medically ill patients. Interferon (IFN)-alpha is notorious for
causing behavioral symptoms, including depression, fatigue, and cognitive
dysfunction, and has been used to investigate the effects of cytokines on the
METHODS: In the present study we assessed the effects of low-dose IFN-alpha on
brain activity, using functional magnetic resonance imaging during a task of
visuospatial attention in patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV).
RESULTS: Despite endorsing symptoms of impaired concentration and fatigue,
IFN-alpha-treated patients (n = 10) exhibited task performance and activation of
parietal and occipital brain regions similar to that seen in HCV-infected control
subjects (n = 11). Interestingly, however, in contrast to control subjects,
IFN-alpha-treated patients exhibited significant activation in the dorsal part of
the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which highly correlated with the number of
task-related errors. No such correlation was found in control subjects.
CONCLUSIONS: Consistent with the role of the ACC in conflict monitoring, ACC
activation during IFN-alpha administration suggests that cytokines might increase
processing conflict or reduce the threshold for conflict detection, thereby
signaling the need to exert greater mental effort to maintain performance. Such
alterations in ACC activity might in turn contribute to cytokine-induced
behavioral changes.

DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2005.03.033
PMCID: PMC1366492
PMID: 16084839 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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