Resting State Hypoconnectivity of Reward Networks in Binge Eating Disorder

Ann F. Haynos*, Jazmin Camchong, Carolyn M. Pearson, Jason M. Lavender, Bryon A. Mueller, Carol B. Peterson, Sheila Specker, Nancy Raymond, Kelvin O. Lim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The clinical presentation of binge eating disorder (BED) and data emerging from task-based functional neuroimaging research suggests that this disorder may be associated with alterations in reward processing. However, there is a dearth of research investigating the functional organization of brain networks that mediate reward in BED. To address this gap, 27 adults with BED and 21 weight-matched healthy controls (WMC) completed a multimodel assessment consisting of a resting functional magnetic resonance imaging scan, behavioral tasks measuring reward-based decision-making (i.e., delay discounting and reversal learning), and self-report assessing clinical symptoms. A seed-based approach was employed to examine the resting state functional connectivity (rsFC) of the striatum (nucleus accumbens [NAcc] and ventral and dorsal caudate), a collection of regions implicated in reward processing. Compared with WMC, the BED group exhibited lower rsFC of striatal seeds, with frontal regions mediating executive functioning (e.g., superior frontal gyrus [SFG]) and posterior, parietal, and temporal regions implicated in emotional processing. Lower NAcc-SFG rsFC was associated with more difficulties with reversal learning and binge eating frequency in the BED group. Results suggest that hypoconnectivity of striatal networks that integrate self-regulation and reward processing may promote the clinical phenomenology of BED. Interventions for BED may benefit from targeting these circuit-based disturbances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2494-2504
Number of pages11
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • binge eating
  • caudate
  • nucleus accumbens
  • resting state functional connectivity
  • reward


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