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BACKGROUND - The striatum is abnormal in schizophrenia and possibly represents a common neurobiological mechanism underlying psychotic disorders. Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging studies have not reached a consensus regarding striatal dysconnectivity in schizophrenia, although these studies generally find impaired frontoparietal and salience network connectivity. The goal of the current study was to clarify the pattern of corticostriatal connectivity, including whether corticostriatal dysconnectivity is transdiagnostic and extends into psychotic bipolar disorder.
METHODS - We examined corticostriatal functional connectivity in 60 healthy subjects and 117 individuals with psychosis, including 77 with a schizophrenia spectrum illness and 40 with psychotic bipolar disorder. We conducted a cortical seed-based region-of-interest analysis with follow-up voxelwise analysis for any significant results. Further, a striatum seed-based analysis was conducted to examine group differences in connectivity between the striatum and the whole cortex.
RESULTS - Cortical region-of-interest analysis indicated that overall connectivity of the salience network with the striatum was reduced in psychotic disorders, which follow-up voxelwise analysis localized to the left putamen. Striatum seed-based analyses showed reduced ventral rostral putamen connectivity with the salience network portion of the medial prefrontal cortex in both schizophrenia and psychotic bipolar disorder.
CONCLUSIONS - The current study found evidence of transdiagnostic corticostriatal dysconnectivity in both schizophrenia and psychotic bipolar disorder, including reduced salience network connectivity, as well as reduced connectivity between the putamen and the medial prefrontal cortex. Overall, the current study points to the relative importance of salience network hypoconnectivity in psychotic disorders.
Copyright © 2019 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gastrointestinal and mental disorders are highly comorbid, and animal models have shown that both can be caused by early adversity (e.g., parental deprivation). Interactions between the brain and bacteria that live within the gastrointestinal system (the microbiome) underlie adversity-gastrointestinal-anxiety interactions, but these links have not been investigated during human development. In this study, we utilized data from a population of 344 youth (3-18 years old) who were raised with their biological parents or were exposed to early adverse caregiving experiences (i.e., institutional or foster care followed by international adoption) to explore adversity-gastrointestinal-anxiety associations. In Study 1, we demonstrated that previous adverse care experiences were associated with increased incidence of gastrointestinal symptoms in youth. Gastrointestinal symptoms were also associated with concurrent and future anxiety (measured across 5 years), and those gastrointestinal symptoms mediated the adversity-anxiety association at Time 1. In a subsample of children who provided both stool samples and functional magnetic resonance imaging of the brain (Study 2, which was a "proof-of-principle"), adversity was associated with changes in diversity (both alpha and beta) of microbial communities, and bacteria levels (adversity-associated and adversity-independent) were correlated with prefrontal cortex activation to emotional faces. Implications of these data for supporting youth mental health are discussed.
Negative affect is a core symptom domain associated with an array of neurological and psychiatric disorders and is only partially targeted by current therapies, highlighting the need for better, more targeted treatment options. This study focuses on negative affective symptoms associated with prolonged alcohol abstinence, one of the leading causes of relapse. Using a mouse model of chronic alcohol consumption followed by forced abstinence (CDFA), prolonged alcohol abstinence increased c-fos expression and spontaneous glutamatergic neurotransmission in the dorsal bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (dBNST), a region heavily implicated in negative affect in both humans and rodents. Further, pharmacologically enhancing endogenous cannabinoids (eCB) with JZL184 prevents abstinence-induced increases in dBNST neuronal activity, underscoring the therapeutic potential of drugs targeting the brain's eCB system. Next, we used a channelrhodopsin-assisted mapping strategy to identify excitatory inputs to the dBNST that could contribute to CDFA-induced negative affect. We identified the insular cortex (insula), a region involved in regulating interoception, as a dense, functional, eCB-sensitive input to the dBNST. Using a chemogenetic strategy to locally mimic eCB signaling, we demonstrate that the insula strongly influences the CDFA behavioral phenotype and dBNST neuronal activity. Lastly, we used an anterograde strategy for transynaptic targeting of Cre expression in combination with a G-DREADD to selectively recruit dBNST neurons receiving insula projections. Chemogenetic recruitment of these neurons mimicked behavioral and c-fos responses observed in CDFA. Collectively, this study supports a role for the insula-BNST neural circuit in negative affective disturbances and highlights the therapeutic potential of the eCB system for treating negative affective disorders.
OBJECTIVE - Late-life depression (LLD) is characterized by poor antidepressant response and cognitive dysfunction. This study examined whether transdermal nicotine benefits mood symptoms and cognitive performance in LLD.
METHODS - In a 12-week open-label outpatient study conducted between November 2016 and August 2017, transdermal nicotine was given to 15 nonsmoking older adults (≥ 60 years of age). Eligible participants met DSM-IV-TR criteria for major depressive disorder with ≥ 15 on the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating scale (MADRS) and endorsed subjective cognitive impairment. Transdermal nicotine patches were applied daily and titrated in a rigid dose escalation strategy to a maximum dose of 21.0 mg/d, allowing dose reductions for tolerability. The primary mood outcome was MADRS change measured every 3 weeks, with response defined as ≥ 50% improvement from baseline and remission as MADRS score ≤ 8. The primary cognitive outcome was the Conners Continuous Performance Test (CPT), a test of attention.
RESULTS - Robust rates of response (86.7%; 13/15 subjects) and remission (53.3%; 8/15 subjects) were observed. There was a significant decrease in MADRS scores over the study (β = -1.51, P < .001), with improvement seen as early as 3 weeks (Bonferroni-adjusted P value = .004). We also observed improvement in apathy and rumination. We did not observe improvement on the CPT but did observe improvement in subjective cognitive performance and signals of potential drug effects on secondary cognitive measures of working memory, episodic memory, and self-referential emotional processing. Overall, transdermal nicotine was well tolerated, although 6 participants could not reach the maximum targeted dose.
CONCLUSIONS - Nicotine may be a promising therapy for depressed mood and cognitive performance in LLD. A definitive placebo-controlled trial and establishment of longer-term safety are necessary before clinical usage.
TRIAL REGISTRATION - ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02816138.
© Copyright 2018 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
Forced abstinence from chronic two bottle-choice ethanol drinking produces the development of negative affective states in female C57BL/6J mice. We previously reported that this disrupted behavior is acutely reversed by administration of ketamine 30 min-prior to testing. Here we assessed whether ketamine can be used as an inoculant against the development of abstinence- dependent affective disturbances. In parallel, we examined the impact of ketamine administration on long-term potentiation (LTP) in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), a region implicated in affective disturbances. We administered ketamine (3 mg/kg i.p.) to female C57BL/6J mice with a history of chronic ethanol drinking at either the onset, two, or 6 days- post-abstinence and observed its impact on affective behavior in the elevated plus maze (EPM), the Novelty Suppressed Feeding Test (NSFT), and the Forced Swim Test (FST). In addition, we assessed BNST synaptic plasticity with field potential electrophysiology two to 3 weeks into abstinence. We found that early abstinence was associated with disrupted behavior on the EPM. Ketamine administered at the onset of forced abstinence prevented both the deficit in early EPM behavior, and the delayed deficits in NSFT and FST. However, ketamine administered either two or 6 days post-abstinence failed to prevent the abstinence-induced affective disturbances. To begin to explore potential alterations in neural circuit activity that accompanies these actions of ketamine, we assessed the impact of ketamine administration at the onset of forced abstinence and measured LTP induction in the BNST. We find that early ketamine administration persistently increased the capacity for LTP within the BNST. These findings suggest a critical period at the onset of forced abstinence in which ketamine inoculation can prevent the development of affective disturbances, in part by enhancing plasticity within the BNST.
Late-life depression is characterized by both lower mood and poor cognitive performance, symptoms that often do not fully respond to current antidepressant medications. Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) agonists such as nicotine may serve as a novel therapeutic approach for this population. Both preclinical and preliminary clinical studies suggest that nAChR agonists can improve depressive behavior in animal models and improve mood in depressed individuals. Substantial literature also supports that nAChR agonists benefit cognitive performance, particularly in older populations. These potential benefits may be mediated by the effects of nAChR stimulation on neural network function and connectivity. Functional neuroimaging studies detail effects of nAChR agonists on the default mode network, central-executive network, and salience network that may oppose or reverse network changes seen in depression. We propose that, given the existent literature and the clinical presentation of late-life depression, nicotine or other nAChR agonists may have unique therapeutic benefits in this population and that clinical trials examining nicotine effects on mood, cognition, and network dynamics in late-life depression are justified.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.
BACKGROUND - The human somatosensory system comprises dissociable paths for discriminative and affective touch, reflected in separate peripheral afferent populations and distinct cortical targets. Differences in behavioral and neural responses to affective touch may have an important developmental role in early social experiences, which are relevant for autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
METHODS - Using probabilistic tractography, we compared the structural integrity of white matter pathways for discriminative and affective touch in young children with ASD and their typically developing (TD) peers. We examined two tracts: (1) a tract linking the thalamus with the primary somatosensory cortex, which carries discriminative tactile information, and (2) a tract linking the posterior insula-the cortical projection target of unmyelinated tactile afferents mediating affective touch-with the anterior insula, which integrates sensory and visceral inputs to interpret emotional salience of sensory stimuli. We investigated associations between tract integrity and performance on a standardized observational assessment measuring tactile discrimination and affective responses to touch.
RESULTS - Both the thalamocortical and intrainsular tracts showed reduced integrity (higher mean diffusivity) in the ASD group compared to those in the TD group. Consistent with the previous findings, the ASD group exhibited impaired tactile discriminative ability, more tactile defensiveness, and more sensory seeking (e.g., enthusiastic play or repetitive engagement with a specific tactile stimulus). There was a significant relation between intrainsular tract integrity and tactile seeking. The direction of this relation differed between groups: higher intrainsular mean diffusivity (MD) (reflecting decreased tract integrity) was associated with increased tactile seeking in the TD group but with decreased tactile seeking in the ASD group. In the TD group, decreased tactile defensiveness was also associated with higher intrainsular MD, but there was no relation in the ASD group. Discriminative touch was not significantly associated with integrity of either tract in either group.
CONCLUSIONS - These results support previous findings suggesting a central role for the insula in affective response to touch. While both discriminative and affective touch and both somatosensory tracts are affected in ASD, the restriction of brain-behavior associations to the intrainsular tract and tactile seeking suggests more complex and perhaps higher-order influence on differences in tactile defensiveness and discrimination.
Institutional caregiving is associated with significant deviations from species-expected caregiving, altering the normative sequence of attachment formation and placing children at risk for long-term emotional difficulties. However, little is known about factors that can promote resilience following early institutional caregiving. In the current study, we investigated how adaptations in affective processing (i.e., positive valence bias) and family-level protective factors (i.e., secure parent-child relationships) moderate risk for internalizing symptoms in previously institutionalized (PI) youth. Children and adolescents with and without a history of institutional care performed a laboratory-based affective processing task and self-reported measures of parent-child relationship security. PI youth were more likely than comparison youth to show positive valence biases when interpreting ambiguous facial expressions. Both positive valence bias and parent-child relationship security moderated the association between institutional care and parent-reported internalizing symptoms, such that greater positive valence bias and more secure parent-child relationships predicted fewer symptoms in PI youth. However, when both factors were tested concurrently, parent-child relationship security more strongly moderated the link between PI status and internalizing symptoms. These findings suggest that both individual-level adaptations in affective processing and family-level factors of secure parent-child relationships may ameliorate risk for internalizing psychopathology following early institutional caregiving.
The amygdala (AMG) has been repeatedly implicated in the processing of threatening and negatively valenced stimuli and multiple fMRI paradigms have reported personality, genetic, and psychopathological associations with individual differences in AMG activation in these paradigms. Yet the interchangeability of activations in these probes has not been established, thus it remains unclear if we can interpret AMG responses on specific tasks as general markers of its reactivity. In this study we aimed to assess if different tasks that have been widely used within the Affective Neuroscience literature consistently recruit the AMG.
METHOD - Thirty-two young healthy subjects completed four fMRI tasks that have all been previously shown to probe the AMG during processing of threatening stimuli: the Threat Face Matching (TFM), the Cued Aversive Picture (CAP), the Aversive and Erotica Pictures (AEP) and the Screaming Lady paradigm (SLp) tasks. Contrasts testing response to aversive stimuli relative to baseline or neutral stimuli were generated and correlations between activations in the AMG were calculated across tasks were performed for ROIs of the AMG.
RESULTS - The TFM, CAP and AEP, but not the SLp, successfully recruit the AMG, among other brain regions, especially when contrasts were against baseline or nonsocial stimuli. Conjunction analysis across contrasts showed that visual cortices (VisCtx) were also consistently recruited. Correlation analysis between the extracted data for right and left AMG did not yield significant associations across tasks. By contrast, the extracted signal in VisCtx showed significant associations across tasks (range r=0.511-r=0.630).
CONCLUSIONS - Three of the four paradigms revealed significant AMG reactivity, but individual differences in the magnitudes of AMG reactivity were not correlated across paradigms. By contrast, VisCtx activation appears to be a better candidate than the AMG as a measure of individual differences with convergent validity across negative emotion processing paradigms.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.