Abstract: Through unbiased transcriptomics and multiple molecular tools, transient downregulation of the Orthodenticle homeobox 2 (OTX2) gene was recently causatively associated with the development of depressive-like behaviors in a mouse model of early life stress. The analyses presented in this manuscript test the translational applicability of these findings by examining peripheral markers of methylation of OTX2 and OTX2-regulated genes in relation to measures of depression and resting-state functional connectivity data collected as part of a larger study examining risk and resilience in maltreated children. The sample included 157 children between the ages of 8 and 15 years (χ = 11.4, SD = 1.9). DNA specimens were derived from saliva samples and processed using the Illumina 450 K beadchip. A subset of children (N = 47) with DNA specimens also had resting-state functional MRI data. After controlling for demographic factors, cell heterogeneity, and three principal components, maltreatment history and methylation in OTX2 significantly predicted depression in the children. In terms of the imaging data, increased OTX2 methylation was found to be associated with increased functional connectivity between the right vmPFC and bilateral regions of the medial frontal cortex and the cingulate, including the subcallosal gyrus, frontal pole, and paracingulate gyrus—key structures implicated in depression. Mouse models of early stress hold significant promise in helping to unravel the mechanisms by which child adversity confers risk for psychopathology, with data presented in this manuscript supporting a potential role for OTX2 and OTX2-related (e.g., WNT1, PAX6) genes in the pathophysiology of stress-related depressive disorders in children.
Abstract: Youths with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptomatology often exhibit residual inattention and/or hyperactivity in adulthood; however, this is not true for all individuals. We recently reported that dimensional, multi-informant ratings of hyperactive/inattentive symptoms are associated with ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) structure. Herein, we investigate the degree to which vmPFC structure during adolescence predicts hyperactive/inattentive symptomatology at 5-year follow-up. Structural equation modeling was used to test the extent to which adolescent vmPFC volume predicts hyperactive/inattentive symptomatology 5 years later in early adulthood. 1104 participants (M = 14.52 years, standard deviation = 0.42; 583 females) possessed hyperactive/inattentive symptom data at 5-year follow-up, as well as quality controlled neuroimaging data and complete psychometric data at baseline. Self-reports of hyperactive/inattentive symptomatology were obtained during adolescence and at 5-year follow-up using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). At baseline and 5-year follow-up, a hyperactive/inattentive latent variable was derived from items on the SDQ. Baseline vmPFC volume predicted adult hyperactive/inattentive symptomatology (standardized coefficient = −0.274, P < 0.001) while controlling for baseline hyperactive/inattentive symptomatology. These results are the first to reveal relations between adolescent brain structure and adult hyperactive/inattentive symptomatology, and suggest that early structural development of the vmPFC may be consequential for the subsequent expression of hyperactive/inattentive symptoms.
Neuroimaging studies of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have most commonly reported volumetric abnormalities in the basal ganglia, cerebellum, and prefrontal cortices. Few studies have examined the relationship between ADHD symptomatology and brain structure in population-based samples. We investigated the relationship between dimensional measures of ADHD symptomatology, brain structure, and reaction time variability—an index of lapses in attention. We also tested for associations between brain structural correlates of ADHD symptomatology and maps of dopaminergic gene expression.
Psychopathology and imaging data were available for 1538 youths. Parent ratings of ADHD symptoms were obtained using the Development and Well-Being Assessment and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Self-reports of ADHD symptoms were assessed using the youth version of the SDQ. Reaction time variability was available in a subset of participants. For each measure, whole-brain voxelwise regressions with gray matter volume were calculated.
Parent ratings of ADHD symptoms (Development and Well-Being Assessment and SDQ), adolescent self-reports of ADHD symptoms on the SDQ, and reaction time variability were each negatively associated with gray matter volume in an overlapping region of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Maps of DRD1 and DRD2 gene expression were associated with brain structural correlates of ADHD symptomatology.
This is the first study to reveal relationships between ventromedial prefrontal cortex structure and multi-informant measures of ADHD symptoms in a large population-based sample of adolescents. Our results indicate that ventromedial prefrontal cortex structure is a biomarker for ADHD symptomatology. These findings extend previous research implicating the default mode network and dopaminergic dysfunction in ADHD.
Abstract: Background: We examined irritability (IRR) in IMAGEN, a
sample of 2024 14-year-youth from five European countries.
Irritable mood is a very common and often impairing symptom
of psychopathology and is defined by temper outbursts and
proneness to anger. It has been associated with a host of
psychiatric and nonpsychiatric conditions including suicide,
violence, and cardiovascular disease. Relatively little is known
about the neural mechanisms of irritability in childhood and
Methods: The Development and Well-Being Assessment
(DAWBA) was used to assess ADHD, MDD, ODD, and GAD.
Three items from the DAWBA, selected as close matches to the
Affective Reactivity Index, were used to assess irritability.
Structural MRI (sMRI) was examined using whole brain Voxel
Based Morphometry analysis and functional MRI (fMRI) was
examined during a stop signal task of inhibitory control. sMRI
and fMRI data for these regions were included in structural
equation models to examine the direct and indirect associations
between IRR and comorbid DSM diagnoses.
Results: A voxelwise regression analysis between GMV and
irritability showed, after correcting for multiple comparisons
(p,0.05), a significant negative correlation in two bilateral
clusters and included the bilateral frontal gyrus and the left
insula. The seven regions showing GMV reductions revealed
significantly decreased activity in irritable subjects vs controls,
in the bilateral superior temporal gyrus (STG), the right insula,
and the right ventral pre- and postcentral gyrus (VPPG)
(p,0.05), after controlling for other diagnoses.
Conclusions: Decreased GMV and less response inhibition
activity was observed within the right VPPG and the bilateral
STG for individuals with high IRR.