ObjectiveThis case-control study was aimed at testing two main hypotheses: (i) obesity is characterized by neurofunctional alterations within the mesocorticolimbic reward system, a brain network originating from the midbrain ventral tegmental area (VTA); and (ii) these alterations are associated with a bias for food-related stimuli and craving. MethodsNormal-weight individuals and individuals with obesity underwent a resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging scan and the assessment of impulsivity, food craving, appetite, and implicit bias for food and non-food stimuli. The VTA was used as a seed to map, for each participant, the strength of its functional connections with the rest of the brain. The between-group difference in functional connectivity was then computed, and brain-behavior correlations were performed. ResultsIndividuals with obesity showed hyper-connectivity of the VTA with part of the ventral occipitotemporal cortex, recently found to be specialized for food images, and hypo-connectivity with the left inferior frontal gyrus, devoted to cognitive control. VTA-ventral occipitotemporal cortex connectivity was positively associated with food craving and food-related bias; the reverse correlation was observed for VTA-inferior frontal gyrus connectivity. ConclusionsThese findings reveal that, in obesity, food-related visual stimuli become cravingly salient through an imbalanced connectivity of the reward system with sensory-specific regions and the frontal cortex involved in cognitive control.

How images of food become cravingly salient in obesity / Devoto, Francantonio; Ferrulli, Anna; Banfi, Giuseppe; Luzi, Livio; Zapparoli, Laura; Paulesu, Eraldo. - In: OBESITY. - ISSN 1930-7381. - 31:9(2023), pp. 2294-2303. [10.1002/oby.23834]

How images of food become cravingly salient in obesity

Banfi, Giuseppe;
2023-01-01

Abstract

ObjectiveThis case-control study was aimed at testing two main hypotheses: (i) obesity is characterized by neurofunctional alterations within the mesocorticolimbic reward system, a brain network originating from the midbrain ventral tegmental area (VTA); and (ii) these alterations are associated with a bias for food-related stimuli and craving. MethodsNormal-weight individuals and individuals with obesity underwent a resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging scan and the assessment of impulsivity, food craving, appetite, and implicit bias for food and non-food stimuli. The VTA was used as a seed to map, for each participant, the strength of its functional connections with the rest of the brain. The between-group difference in functional connectivity was then computed, and brain-behavior correlations were performed. ResultsIndividuals with obesity showed hyper-connectivity of the VTA with part of the ventral occipitotemporal cortex, recently found to be specialized for food images, and hypo-connectivity with the left inferior frontal gyrus, devoted to cognitive control. VTA-ventral occipitotemporal cortex connectivity was positively associated with food craving and food-related bias; the reverse correlation was observed for VTA-inferior frontal gyrus connectivity. ConclusionsThese findings reveal that, in obesity, food-related visual stimuli become cravingly salient through an imbalanced connectivity of the reward system with sensory-specific regions and the frontal cortex involved in cognitive control.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11768/151516
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