Depression and insulin resistance are becoming increasingly prevalent in younger populations. The origin and consequence of insulin resistance in depressed youth may, in part, be rooted in exposure to environmental stressors, such as early life abuse, that may lead to aberrant brain motivational networks mediating maladaptive food-seeking behaviors and insipient insulin resistance. In this paper, we aimed to investigate the impact of early life abuse on the development of insulin resistance in depressed and overweight youth aged 9 to 17 years. We hypothesized that youth with the greatest burden of early life abuse would have the highest levels of insulin resistance and corresponding aberrant reward network connectivities. To test this hypothesis, we evaluated sixty-nine depressed and overweight youth aged 9 to 17, using multimodal assessments of early life abuse, food-seeking behavior, and insulin resistance. Based on results of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), we separated our study participants into two groups: 35 youth who reported high levels of the sum of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse and 34 youth who reported insignificant or no levels of any abuse. Results of an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and resting state functional connectivity (RSFC), using the amygdala, insula, and nucleus accumbens (NAcc) as seed-based reward network regions of interest, were analyzed for group differences between high abuse and low abuse groups. High abuse youth exhibited differences from low abuse youth in amygdala-precuneus, NAcc-paracingulate gyrus, and NAcc-prefrontal cortex connectivities, that correlated with levels of abuse experienced. The more different their connectivity from of that of low abuse youth, the higher were their fasting glucose and glucose at OGTT endpoint. Importantly, level of abuse moderated the relation between reward network connectivity and OGTT glucose response. In contrast, low abuse youth showed hyperinsulinemia and more insulin resistance than high abuse youth, and their higher OGTT insulin areas under the curve correlated with more negative insula-precuneus connectivity. Our findings suggest distinct neural and endocrine profiles of youth with depression and obesity based on their histories of early life abuse.
View details for DOI 10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00721
View details for PubMedID 30622489
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6308296