Neural Correlates of Positive Emotion Processing That Distinguish Healthy Youth at Familial Risk for Bipolar Versus Major Depressive Disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Nimarko, A. F., Fischer, A. S., Hagan, K. E., Gorelik, A. J., Lu, Y., Young, C. J., Singh, M. K. 2020


OBJECTIVE: Familial risk for bipolar (BD) or major depressive (MDD) disorder may lead to differential emotion processing signatures, resulting in unique neural vulnerability.METHOD: Healthy offspring of a parent with BD (n=29, "BD-risk") or MDD (n=44, "MDD-risk") and youth without any personal or family psychopathology (n=28, "HC") ages 8-17 (13.64 ± 2.59) completed an implicit emotion perception functional magnetic resonance imaging task. Whole-brain voxel-wise and psychophysiological interaction analyses examined neural differences in activation and connectivity during emotion processing. Regression modeling tested for neural associations with behavioral strengths and difficulties and conversion to psychopathology at follow-up (3.71 ± 1.91 years).RESULTS: BD-risk youth showed significantly reduced bilateral putamen activation, and decreased connectivity between the left putamen and the left ventral anterior cingulate cortex (vACC) and the right posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) during positive-valence emotion processing compared to MDD-risk and HC (Z >2.3; p <.001). Decreased left putamen- right PCC connectivity correlated with subsequent peer problems in BD-risk (beta = -2.90; p <.05) and MDD-risk (beta = -3.64; p <.05). Decreased left (beta = -.09; p < .05) and right putamen activation (beta = -.07; p = .04) were associated with conversion to a mood or anxiety disorder in BD-risk. Decreased left putamen-right PCC connectivity was associated with a higher risk of conversion in BD-risk (HR = 8.28 , p < .01) and MDD-risk (HR = 2.31, p = .02).CONCLUSION: Reduced putamen activation and connectivity during positive emotion processing appear to distinguish BD-risk youth from MDD-risk and HC youth, and may represent a marker of vulnerability.

View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jaac.2020.07.890

View details for PubMedID 32738282