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Infancy is marked by rapid neural and emotional development. The relation between brain function and emotion in infancy, however, is not well understood. Methods for measuring brain function predominantly rely on the BOLD signal; however, interpretation of the BOLD signal in infancy is challenging because the neuronal-hemodynamic relation is immature. Regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) provides a context for the infant BOLD signal and can yield insight into the developmental maturity of brain regions that may support affective behaviors. This study aims to elucidate the relations among rCBF, age, and emotion in infancy. One hundred and seven mothers reported their infants' (infant age M ± SD = 6.14 ± 0.51 months) temperament. A subsample of infants completed MRI scans, 38 of whom produced usable perfusion MRI during natural sleep to quantify rCBF. Mother-infant dyads completed the repeated Still-Face Paradigm, from which infant affect reactivity and recovery to stress were quantified. We tested associations of infant age at scan, temperament factor scores, and observed affect reactivity and recovery with voxel-wise rCBF. Infant age was positively associated with CBF in nearly all voxels, with peaks located in sensory cortices and the ventral prefrontal cortex, supporting the formulation that rCBF is an indicator of tissue maturity. Temperamental Negative Affect and recovery of positive affect following a stressor were positively associated with rCBF in several cortical and subcortical limbic regions, including the orbitofrontal cortex and inferior frontal gyrus. This finding yields insight into the nature of affective neurodevelopment during infancy. Specifically, infants with relatively increased prefrontal cortex maturity may evidence a disposition toward greater negative affect and negative reactivity in their daily lives yet show better recovery of positive affect following a social stressor.
© 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
PURPOSE - Transcranial focused ultrasound (FUS) is increasingly being explored to modulate neuronal activity. To target neuromodulation, researchers often localize the FUS beam onto the brain region(s) of interest using spatially tracked tools overlaid on pre-acquired images. Here, we quantify the accuracy of optically tracked image-guided FUS with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) thermometry, evaluate sources of error and demonstrate feasibility of these procedures to target the macaque somatosensory region.
METHODS - We developed an optically tracked FUS system capable of projecting the transducer focus onto a pre-acquired MRI volume. To measure the target registration error (TRE), we aimed the transducer focus at a desired target in a phantom under image guidance, heated the target while imaging with MR thermometry and then calculated the TRE as the difference between the targeted and heated locations. Multiple targets were measured using either an unbiased or bias-corrected calibration. We then targeted the macaque S1 brain region, where displacement induced by the acoustic radiation force was measured using MR acoustic radiation force imaging (MR-ARFI).
RESULTS - All calibration methods enabled registration with TRE on the order of 3 mm. Unbiased calibration resulted in an average TRE of 3.26 mm (min-max: 2.80-4.53 mm), which was not significantly changed by prospective bias correction (TRE of 3.05 mm; 2.06-3.81 mm, p = 0.55). Restricting motion between the transducer and target and increasing the distance between tracked markers reduced the TRE to 2.43 mm (min-max: 0.79-3.88 mm). MR-ARFI images showed qualitatively similar shape and extent as projected beam profiles in a living non-human primate.
CONCLUSIONS - Our study describes methods for image guidance of FUS neuromodulation and quantifies errors associated with this method in a large animal. The workflow is efficient enough for in vivo use, and we demonstrate transcranial MR-ARFI in vivo in macaques for the first time.
Early life stress (ELS) is a risk factor for the development of depression in adolescence; the mediating neurobiological mechanisms, however, are unknown. In this study, we examined in early pubertal youth the associations among ELS, cortisol stress responsivity, and white matter microstructure of the uncinate fasciculus and the fornix, two key frontolimbic tracts; we also tested whether and how these variables predicted depressive symptoms in later puberty. A total of 208 participants (117 females; M age = 11.37 years; M Tanner stage = 2.03) provided data across two or more assessment modalities: ELS; salivary cortisol levels during a psychosocial stress task; diffusion magnetic resonance imaging; and depressive symptoms. In early puberty there were significant associations between higher ELS and decreased cortisol production, and between decreased cortisol production and increased fractional anisotropy in the uncinate fasciculus. Further, increased fractional anisotropy in the uncinate fasciculus predicted higher depressive symptoms in later puberty, above and beyond earlier symptoms. In post hoc analyses, we found that sex moderated several additional associations. We discuss these findings within a broader conceptual model linking ELS, emotion dysregulation, and depression across the transition through puberty, and contend that brain circuits implicated in the control of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function should be a focus of continued research.
This article reviews the interactions of estrogen changes and psychosocial stress in contributing to vulnerability to major depressive disorder (MDD) in women. Estrogen modulates brain networks and processes related to changes in stress response, cognition, and emotional dysregulation that are core characteristics of MDD. Synergistic effects of estrogen on cognitive and emotional function, particularly during psychosocial stress, may underlie the association of ovarian hormone fluctuation and depression in women. We propose a model of estrogen effects on multiple brain systems that interface with stress-related emotional and cognitive processes implicated in MDD and discuss possible mechanisms through which reproductive events and changes in estrogen may contribute to MDD risk in women with other concurrent risk factors.
The human dopamine (DA) transporter (hDAT) mediates clearance of DA. Genetic variants in hDAT have been associated with DA dysfunction, a complication associated with several brain disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Here, we investigated the structural and behavioral bases of an ASD-associated in-frame deletion in hDAT at N336 (∆N336). We uncovered that the deletion promoted a previously unobserved conformation of the intracellular gate of the transporter, likely representing the rate-limiting step of the transport process. It is defined by a "half-open and inward-facing" state (HOIF) of the intracellular gate that is stabilized by a network of interactions conserved phylogenetically, as we demonstrated in hDAT by Rosetta molecular modeling and fine-grained simulations, as well as in its bacterial homolog leucine transporter by electron paramagnetic resonance analysis and X-ray crystallography. The stabilization of the HOIF state is associated both with DA dysfunctions demonstrated in isolated brains of expressing hDAT ∆N336 and with abnormal behaviors observed at high-time resolution. These flies display increased fear, impaired social interactions, and locomotion traits we associate with DA dysfunction and the HOIF state. Together, our results describe how a genetic variation causes DA dysfunction and abnormal behaviors by stabilizing a HOIF state of the transporter.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is associated with altered processing in brain regions involved in conflict resolution. However, limited research has examined the extent to which conflict from emotional distracters characterizes OCD such that responsiveness to task-irrelevant emotional stimuli is altered compared to controls. In the present study, 16 patients with OCD and 15 healthy controls underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during resolution of conflict from emotional or nonemotional distracters. Results in healthy controls demonstrated that rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC), middle frontal gyrus (MFG), and medial superior frontal gyrus (MSFG) showed greater activation for high conflict versus low conflict. Responses in these regions differed between the emotional and nonemotional distracter tasks, with rACC and MSFG having greater activation for conflict from nonemotional distracters and anterior MFG showing greater activation for conflict from emotional distracters. Furthermore, between-group differences revealed a region in right posterior MFG in which controls similarly exhibited greater activation during high conflict versus low conflict with emotional distracters; however, OCD patients showed the opposite pattern with greater activation during low conflict compared to high conflict. These findings suggest that activity of right posterior MFG may be relevant in better understanding inefficient responding during emotional conflict in OCD.
Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
OBJECTIVE: - Idiopathic subglottic stenosis (iSGS) is a rare disease with few local resources for individuals to use. With the explosive growth of online social networking, platforms such as Facebook possess compelling potential to facilitate user-driven sharing of health information and peer support. This study was performed to better understand the content shared in a busy online community for individuals with iSGS.
METHODS: - The largest online community (OC) for individuals with iSGS, Living With Idiopathic Subglottic Stenosis (LwiSGS), was examined. A thematic content analysis of the communications shared in February of 2018 was performed. A conventional qualitative analysis model was employed to analyze aggregated data. The data were then codified.
RESULTS: - Analysis demonstrated that communications primarily encompassed three major thematic elements: (1) information sharing; (2) emotional support, expression, and experience sharing; and (3) community building. Positively toned posts grossly overshadowed negatively toned posts by almost a factor of 3. A significant portion of group members requested information from their peers, suggesting a high level of trust toward the resources provided in this group, even those involving a surgical procedure or medication.
CONCLUSION: - LwiSGS is a forum for patients with a rare chronic condition to share informational resources, personal experiences, and emotional support, as well as a community with their peers. These data suggest that LwiSGS could be a powerful resource for individuals with iSGS to share information, personal experiences, or emotional support.
Dopamine (DA) signaling dysfunction is believed to contribute to multiple neuropsychiatric disorders including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The rare DA transporter (DAT) coding substitution Ala559Val found in subjects with ADHD, bipolar disorder and autism, promotes anomalous DA efflux in vitro and, in DAT Val559 mice, leads to increased reactivity to imminent handling, waiting impulsivity, and enhanced motivation for reward. Here, we report that, in contrast to amphetamine and methylphenidate, which induce significant locomotor activation, cocaine administration to these mice elicits no locomotor effects, despite retention of conditioned place preference (CPP). Additionally, cocaine fails to elevate extracellular DA. Given that amphetamine and methylphenidate, unlike cocaine, lack high-affinity interactions with the serotonin (5-HT) transporter (SERT), we hypothesized that the lack of cocaine-induced hyperlocomotion in DAT Val559 mice arises from SERT blockade and augmented 5-HT signaling relative to cocaine actions on wildtype animals. Consistent with this idea, the SERT blocker fluoxetine abolished methylphenidate-induced locomotor activity in DAT Val559 mice, mimicking the effects seen with cocaine. Additionally, a cocaine analog (RTI-113) with greater selectivity for DAT over SERT retains locomotor activation in DAT Val559 mice. Furthermore, genetic elimination of high-affinity cocaine interactions at SERT in DAT Val559 mice, or specific inhibition of 5-HT receptors in these animals, restored cocaine-induced locomotion, but did not restore cocaine-induced elevations of extracellular DA. Our findings reveal a significant serotonergic plasticity arising in the DAT Val559 model that involves enhanced 5-HT signaling, acting independently of striatal DA release, capable of suppressing the activity of cocaine-sensitive motor circuits.
The emotional attentional blink (EAB) refers to a temporary impairment in the ability to identify a target when it is preceded by an emotional distractor. It is thought to occur because the emotional salience of the distractor exogenously captures attention for a brief duration, rendering the target unattended and preventing it from reaching awareness. Here we tested the extent to which the EAB can be attenuated by inducing a diffuse top-down attentional state, which has been shown to improve target identification in an analogous attentional phenomenon, the attentional blink. Rapid sequences of landscape images were presented centrally, and participants reported the orientation of a ± 90° rotation of a landscape target. To induce a diffuse state of attention, participants were given a secondary task of monitoring for the appearance of a colored dot in the periphery. We found that emotional distractors impaired target recognition performance to comparable extents, regardless of whether or not participants concurrently performed the peripheral-monitoring task. Moreover, we found that performance of the secondary task led to an impaired ability to ignore neutral distractors. Subjective ratings of target vividness mirrored the behavioral accuracy, with frequent reports of intermediate levels of vividness suggesting that the EAB might impair target visibility in a graded manner. Our results demonstrate that the EAB is robust to manipulations of top-down attention, suggesting that the temporary capture of attention by emotionally salient stimuli involves processes that are distinct from those that produce the attentional blink.
OBJECTIVES - The ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (vlPFC) has been speculated to play an important role in complex processes that allow emotional factors to influence human cognition. Accumulating evidence from human neuroimaging studies, in conjunction with studies of patients with lesions and animal models, shed light on the role of the vlPFC in emotion regulation (ER). This review aims to discuss and integrate recent findings related to vlPFC's role in ER in the context of aging, drawing from diverse sources, and suggest future directions for research utilizing transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
METHODS/DESIGN - We summarize findings from the existing literature investigating the neural basis of frontal-lobe mediated ER and then highlight major findings from recent studies directly comparing healthy younger and older adult groups. We conclude by pointing to unaddressed questions worth pursuing in future research.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION - We propose future research directions utilizing TMS to answer key unaddressed questions. Moreover, we discuss the potential advantages, challenges, and limitations of using TMS as a complement to the existing neuroimaging methods in ER.
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.