Document Detail

Reduced medial prefrontal cortex volume in adults reporting childhood emotional maltreatment.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20692648     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Process    
BACKGROUND: Childhood emotional maltreatment (CEM) has been associated with a profound and enduring negative impact on behavioral and emotional functioning. Animal models have shown that adverse rearing conditions, such as maternal separation, can induce a cascade of long-term structural alterations in the brain, particularly in the hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex. However, in humans, the neurobiological correlates of CEM are unknown.
METHODS: Using high-resolution T1-weighted 3T magnetic resonance imaging, anatomical scans and a whole-brain optimized voxel-based morphometry approach, we examined whether healthy control subjects and unmedicated patients with depression and/or anxiety disorders reporting CEM before age 16 (n = 84; age: mean = 38.7) displayed structural brain changes compared with control subjects and patients who reported no childhood abuse (n = 97; age: mean = 36.6).
RESULTS: We found that self-reported CEM is associated with a significant reduction in predominantly left dorsal medial prefrontal cortex volume, even in the absence of physical or sexual abuse during childhood. In addition, reduced medial prefrontal cortex in individuals reporting CEM is present in males and females, independent of concomitant psychopathology.
CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we show that CEM is associated with profound reductions of medial prefrontal cortex volume, suggesting that sustained inhibition of growth or structural damage can occur after exposure to CEM. Given the important role of the medial prefrontal cortex in the regulation of emotional behavior, our finding might provide an important link in understanding the increased emotional sensitivity in individuals reporting CEM.
Anne-Laura van Harmelen; Marie-José van Tol; Nic J A van der Wee; Dick J Veltman; André Aleman; Philip Spinhoven; Mark A van Buchem; Frans G Zitman; Brenda W J H Penninx; Bernet M Elzinga
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2010-08-08
Journal Detail:
Title:  Biological psychiatry     Volume:  68     ISSN:  1873-2402     ISO Abbreviation:  Biol. Psychiatry     Publication Date:  2010 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-10-15     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0213264     Medline TA:  Biol Psychiatry     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  832-8     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2010 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, the Netherlands.
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