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Amygdalar reactivity is associated with prefrontal cortical thickness in a large population-based sample of adolescents

Albaugh, Matthew D.; Hudziak, James; Orr, Catherine; Spechler, Philip; Chaarani, Bader; Mackey, Scott; Lepage, Claude; Fonov, Vladimir; Rioux, Pierre; Evans, Alan; Banaschewski, Tobias

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Authors

Matthew D. Albaugh

James Hudziak

Catherine Orr

Philip Spechler

Bader Chaarani

Scott Mackey

Claude Lepage

Vladimir Fonov

Pierre Rioux

Alan Evans

Tobias Banaschewski



Abstract

In structural neuroimaging studies, reduced cerebral cortical thickness in orbital and ventromedial prefrontal regions is frequently interpreted as reflecting an impaired ability to downregulate neuronal activity in the amygdalae. Unfortunately, little research has been conducted in order to test this conjecture. We examine the extent to which amygdalar reactivity is associated with cortical thickness in a population-based sample of adolescents. Data were obtained from the IMAGEN study, which includes 2,223 adolescents. While undergoing functional neuroimaging, participants passively viewed video clips of a face that started from a neutral expression and progressively turned angry, or, instead, turned to a second neutral expression. Left and right amygdala ROIs were used to extract mean BOLD signal change for the angry minus neutral face contrast for all subjects. T1-weighted images were processed through the CIVET pipeline (version 2.1.0). In variable-centered analyses, amygdalar reactivity was regressed on local cortical thickness using first and second-order linear models. In a follow-up person-centered analysis, we defined a "high reactive" group of participants based on mean amygdalar BOLD signal change for the angry minus neutral face contrast. Between-group differences in cortical thickness were examined ("high reactive" versus all other participants). A significant association was revealed between the continuous measure of amygdalar reactivity and bilateral ventromedial prefrontal cortical thickness in a second-order linear model (p < 0.05, corrected). Analyzing amygdalar reactivity as a dichotomous variable revealed that the "high reactive" group, in comparison to all other participants, possessed reduced cortical thickness in bilateral orbital and ventromedial prefrontal cortices, bilateral anterior temporal cortices, left caudal middle temporal gyrus, and the left inferior and middle frontal gyri (p < 0.05, corrected). Results are consistent with non-human primate studies, and provide empirical support for an association between reduced prefrontal cortical thickness and amygdalar reactivity. Future research will likely benefit from investigating the degree to which psychopathology qualifies relations between prefrontal cortical structure and amygdalar reactivity. Order of Authors:

Citation

Albaugh, M. D., Hudziak, J., Orr, C., Spechler, P., Chaarani, B., Mackey, S., …Banaschewski, T. (2019). Amygdalar reactivity is associated with prefrontal cortical thickness in a large population-based sample of adolescents. PLoS ONE, 14(5), Article e0216152. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0216152

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 17, 2019
Online Publication Date May 2, 2019
Publication Date May 2, 2019
Deposit Date Apr 25, 2019
Publicly Available Date Apr 25, 2019
Journal PLoS ONE
Electronic ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Issue 5
Article Number e0216152
DOI https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0216152
Keywords amygdala; cortical thickness; amygdala reactivity; emotion regulation; ventromedial prefrontal cortex
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1840917
Publisher URL https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0216152

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