[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background / Purpose:
The ability to rapidly interrupt one programmed action in favour of another is a critical aspect of flexible behaviour. Non-human primate studies have made significant contributions to understanding how reactive adjustments to an ongoing motor plan are instantiated in the brain using the oculomotor countermanding and search-step tasks. These tasks require the subject to make a speeded eye movement to a visual target. On an infrequent number of trials, a second signal is presented that instructs the subject to rapidly alter the motor plan by either inhibiting or both inhibiting and redirecting a response. Performance on this task has been modeled as a race between competing STOP and GO processes. Neurophysiology studies of countermanding performance show that frontal eye fields (FEF) and superior colliculus (SC) play a direct role in the control of gaze. Although the role of the striatum in reactive inhibition has not been explored in primate studies, it is in a position to inhibit movement-related activity in FEF and SC. Despite the rich neurophysiology literature, there is little known about the network involved in reactive saccade control in humans. Functional MRI studies investigating manual response inhibition in humans have highlighted a role of the inferior frontal cortex and medial frontal cortex (MFC). However, primate studies indicate that MFC, including supplementary eye fields (SEF), does not have a direct role in the control of gaze; rather, it is involved in response monitoring. In the current study, we investigated reactive control of gaze in human subjects using fMRI. The goals of the study were twofold: 1) to better compare mechanisms of reactive control of action in humans to non-human primates by investigating the oculomotor system; 2) to explore the role of the striatum in the reactive control of gaze.
Greater activation was observed in a cortical and subcortical oculomotor network, including FEF, SC, and the caudate nucleus of the striatum. Greater activation in the caudate and visual cortex predicted faster inhibition ability. Greater activation was also observed in SEF; however, this activation was in a separate, more anterior region of SEF than that activated by no-step trials. Further, activation in SEF was associated with larger error saccade amplitude on noncompensated trials. These data lend new evidence for a role of the striatum in reactive saccade control and further clarify the role of MFC in action inhibition and performance monitoring. These results and their strong links with primate neurophysiology, have implications for understanding mechanisms of the abnormal control of action that characterize several neuropsychiatric disorders.
20th Annual Meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM) 2014; 08/2014
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cognitive abilities are related to (changes in) brain structure during adolescence and adulthood. Previous studies suggest that associations between cortical thickness and intelligence may be different at different ages. As both intelligence and cortical thickness are heritable traits, the question arises whether the association between cortical thickness development and intelligence is due to genes influencing both traits. We study this association in a longitudinal sample of young twins. Intelligence was assessed by standard IQ tests at age 9 in 224 twins, 190 of whom also underwent structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Three years later at age 12, 177/125 twins returned for a follow-up measurement of intelligence/MRI scanning, respectively. We investigated whether cortical thickness was associated with intelligence and if so, whether this association was driven by genes. At age 9, there were no associations between cortical thickness and intelligence. At age 12, a negative relationship emerged. This association was mainly driven by verbal intelligence, and manifested itself most prominently in the left hemisphere. Cortical thickness and intelligence were explained by the same genes. As a post hoc analysis, we tested whether a specific allele (rs6265; Val66Met in the BDNF gene) contributed to this association. Met carriers showed lower intelligence and a thicker cortex, but only the association between the BDNF genotype and cortical thickness in the left superior parietal gyrus reached significance. In conclusion, it seems that brain areas contributing to (verbal) intellectual performance are specializing under the influence of genes around the onset of puberty.
Human Brain Mapping 08/2014; DOI:10.1002/hbm.22435 · 5.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia is a highly heritable disorder. Genetic risk is conferred by a large number of alleles, including common alleles of small effect that might be detected by genome-wide association studies. Here we report a multi-stage schizophrenia genome-wide association study of up to 36,989 cases and 113,075 controls. We identify 128 independent associations spanning 108 conservatively defined loci that meet genome-wide significance, 83 of which have not been previously reported. Associations were enriched among genes expressed in brain, providing biological plausibility for the findings. Many findings have the potential to provide entirely new insights into aetiology, but associations at DRD2 and several genes involved in glutamatergic neurotransmission highlight molecules of known and potential therapeutic relevance to schizophrenia, and are consistent with leading pathophysiological hypotheses. Independent of genes expressed in brain, associations were enriched among genes expressed in tissues that have important roles in immunity, providing support for the speculated link between the immune system and schizophrenia.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genetic polymorphisms can shape the global landscape of DNA methylation, by either changing substrates for DNA methyltransferases or altering the DNA binding affinity of cis-regulatory proteins. The interactions between CpG methylation and genetic polymorphisms have been previously investigated by methylation quantitative trait loci (mQTL) and allele-specific methylation (ASM) analysis. However, it remains unclear whether these approaches can effectively and comprehensively identify all genetic variants that contribute to the inter-individual variation of DNA methylation levels. Here we used three independent approaches to systematically investigate the influence of genetic polymorphisms on variability in DNA methylation by characterizing the methylation state of 96 whole blood samples in 52 parent-child trios from 22 nuclear pedigrees. We performed targeted bisulfite sequencing with padlock probes to quantify the absolute DNA methylation levels at a set of 411,800 CpG sites in the human genome. With mid-parent offspring analysis (MPO), we identified 10,593 CpG sites that exhibited heritable methylation patterns, among which 70.1% were SNPs directly present in methylated CpG dinucleotides. We determined the mQTL analysis identified 49.9% of heritable CpG sites for which regulation occurred in a distal cis-regulatory manner, and that ASM analysis was only able to identify 5%. Finally, we identified hundreds of clusters in the human genome for which the degree of variation of CpG methylation, as opposed to whether or not CpG sites were methylated, was associated with genetic polymorphisms, supporting a recent hypothesis on the genetic influence of phenotypic plasticity. These results show that cis-regulatory SNPs identified by mQTL do not comprise the full extent of heritable CpG methylation, and that ASM appears overall unreliable. Overall, the extent of genome-methylome interactions is well beyond what is detectible with the commonly used mQTL and ASM approaches, and is likely to include effects on plasticity.
PLoS ONE 07/2014; 9(7):e99313. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0099313 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rapid and reactive control of movement is essential in a dynamic environment and is disrupted in several neuropsychiatric disorders. Nonhuman primate neurophysiology studies have made significant contributions to our understanding of how saccadic eye movements can be rapidly inhibited, changed, and monitored. These results highlight a frontostriatal network involved in gaze control and provide a strong basis for understanding how cognitive control of action is implemented in the human brain. The goal of the present study was to bridge human and nonhuman primate studies by investigating reactive control of eye movements during fMRI using a task that has been used in neurophysiology studies: the search-step task. This task requires a speeded response to a visual target (no-step trial). On a minority (40%) of trials, the target jumps to a new location and participants are instructed to inhibit the initially planned saccade and redirect gaze toward the new location (redirect trial). Compared with no-step trials, greater activation in a frontal oculomotor network, including frontal and supplementary eye fields (SEFs), and the striatum was observed during correctly executed redirect trials. Individual differences in stopping efficiency were related to striatal activation. Further, greater activation in SEF was in a region anterior to that activated during visually guided saccades and scaled positively with error magnitude, suggesting a prominent role in response monitoring. Combined, these data lend new evidence for a role of the striatum in reactive saccade control and further clarify the role of SEF in action inhibition and performance monitoring.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 06/2014; 34(26):8918-29. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0732-14.2014 · 6.34 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often associated with impaired fear inhibition and decreased safety cue processing; however, studies capturing the cognitive aspect of inhibition and contextual cue processing are limited. In this fMRI study, the role of contextual cues in response inhibition was investigated. Methods:Male medication-naive war veterans with PTSD, male control veterans (combat controls) and healthy nonmilitary men (healthy controls) underwent fMRI while performing the stop-signal anticipation task (SSAT). The SSAT evokes 2 forms of response inhibition: reactive inhibition (outright stopping) and proactive inhibition (anticipation of stopping based on contextual cues). Results: We enrolled 28 veterans with PTSD, 26 combat controls and 25 healthy controls in our study. Reduced reactive inhibition was observed in all veterans, both with and without PTSD, but not in nonmilitary controls, whereas decreased inhibition of the left pre/postcentralgyrus appeared to be specifically associated with PTSD. Impaired behavioural proactive inhibition was also specific to PTSD. Furthermore, the PTSD group showed a reduced right inferior frontal gyrus response during proactive inhibition compared with the combat control group. Limitations:Most patients with PTSD had comorbid psychiatric disorders, but such comorbidity is common in patients with PTSD. Also, the education level (estimate of intelligence) of participants, but not of their parents, differed among the groups. Conclusion:Our findings of reduced proactive inhibition imply that patients with PTSD show reduced contextual cue processing. These results complement previous findings on fear inhibition and demonstrate that contextual cue processing in patients with PTSD is also reduced during cognitive processes, indicating a more general deficit.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The human connectome is the result of an elaborate developmental trajectory. Acquiring diffusion-weighted imaging and resting-state fMRI, we studied connectome formation during the preterm phase of macroscopic connectome genesis. In total, 27 neonates were scanned at week 30 and/or week 40 gestational age (GA). Examining the architecture of the neonatal anatomical brain network revealed a clear presence of a small-world modular organization before term birth. Analysis of neonatal functional connectivity (FC) showed the early formation of resting-state networks, suggesting that functional networks are present in the preterm brain, albeit being in an immature state. Moreover, structural and FC patterns of the neonatal brain network showed strong overlap with connectome architecture of the adult brain (85 and 81%, respectively). Analysis of brain development between week 30 and week 40 GA revealed clear developmental effects in neonatal connectome architecture, including a significant increase in white matter microstructure (P < 0.01), small-world topology (P < 0.01) and interhemispheric FC (P < 0.01). Computational analysis further showed that developmental changes involved an increase in integration capacity of the connectivity network as a whole. Taken together, we conclude that hallmark organizational structures of the human connectome are present before term birth and subject to early development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human brain volumes change throughout life, are highly heritable, and have been associated with general cognitive functioning. Cross-sectionally, this association between volume and cognition can largely be attributed to the same genes influencing both traits. We address the question whether longitudinal changes in brain volume or in surface area in young adults are under genetic control and whether these changes are also related to general cognitive functioning. We measured change in brain volume and surface area over a 5-year interval in 176 monozygotic and dizygotic twins and their non-twin siblings aged 19 to 56, using magnetic resonance imaging. Results show that change in volumes of total brain (mean=-6.4ml; -0.5% loss), cerebellum (1.4ml, 1.0% increase), cerebral white matter (4.4ml, 0.9% increase), lateral ventricles (0.6ml; 4.8% increase) and in surface area (-19.7cm(2), -1.1% contraction) are heritable (h(2)=43%; 52%; 29%; 31%; and 33%, respectively). An association between IQ (available for 91 participants) and brain volume change was observed, which was attributed to genes involved in both the variation in change in brain volume and in intelligence. Thus, dynamic changes in brain structure are heritable and may have cognitive significance in adulthood.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Patients with psychotic disorders who experienced childhood trauma show more social dysfunction than patients without traumatic experiences. However, this may not hold for all patients with traumatic experiences. Little is known about the potential compensating role of Five-Factor Model personality traits within this group, despite their strong predictive value for social functioning and well-being in the general population.
Our sample consisted of 195 patients with psychotic disorders (74% diagnosed with schizophrenia) and 132 controls. Cluster analyses were conducted to identify and validate distinct personality profiles. General linear model analyses were conducted to examine whether patients with different profiles differed in social functioning and quality of life (QoL), while controlling for possible confounders. Mediation models were tested to assess potential causal links.
In general, patients with higher levels of self-reported traumatic experiences (PT+) showed lower QoL and more social withdrawal compared with patients with lower traumatic experiences (PT-). Two clusters reflecting personality profiles were identified. PT+ with the first profile (lower neuroticism and higher extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness) presented higher levels of QoL and better social functioning in several areas, including less withdrawal, compared with both PT+ and PT- with the second profile. PT+ and PT- with the first personality profile did not differ in QoL and social functioning. Mediation analyses suggested that personality traits mediate the relation between traumatic experiences and QoL and social withdrawal.
Our findings indicate that personality may "buffer" the impact of childhood traumatic experiences on functional outcome in patients with psychotic disorders.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The clinical expression of schizophrenia is generally reported to be expressed by three to five different factors (i.e. positive, negative, disorganization, excitability, anxiety-depression symptoms). It is often claimed that antipsychotic medications are particularly helpful for positive symptoms, but not for the others, suggesting a differential efficacy for different aspects of the disorder. We formally tested this claim. Using Structural Equation Modeling in two large [1884 patients] clinical trials in schizophrenia, we compared the model of a common general effect of antipsychotics to models whereby the antipsychotics have multiple and differential effects on the different factors of the illness. We validated the generalizability of the model in further trials involving antipsychotics in chronic [1460 patients] and first-episode patients [1053 patients]. Across different populations, different trials and different antipsychotics - the best-fitting model suggests that symptom response in schizophrenia is underpinned by a single general effect with secondary and minor lower-order effects on specific symptom domains. This single-factor model explained nearly 80% of the variance, was superior to the assumption of unique efficacy for specific domains; and replicated across antipsychotics and illness stages. Despite theoretical and pharmacological claims the differential efficacy of antipsychotics on the various dimensions of schizophrenia is not supported in the prevailing data. The implication of this finding for the measurement of treatment response and our understanding of the neurobiology of antipsychotic action, for clinical practice and for future drug development are discussed.
European neuropsychopharmacology: the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology 04/2014; 24(8). DOI:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2014.04.001 · 4.37 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Full article at: http://f1000research.com/articles/2-289/v2#reflist
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that is often diagnosed with comorbid depressive disorder. Therefore, neuroimaging studies investigating PTSD typically include both patients with and without comorbid depression. Differences in activity of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and insula have been shown to differentiate PTSD patients with and without major depressive disorder (MDD). Whether or not comorbid MDD affects resting state functional connectivity of PTSD patients has not been investigated to our knowledge. Here, resting state functional connectivity of PTSD patients with (PTSD+MDD; n=27) and without (PTSD-MDD; n=23) comorbid MDD was investigated. The subgenual ACC and insula were investigated as seed regions. Connectivity between the subgenual ACC and perigenual parts of the ACC was increased in PTSD+MDD versus PTSD-MDD, which may reflect the presence of depressive specific symptoms such as rumination. Functional connectivity of the subgenual ACC with the thalamus was reduced, potentially related to more severe deficits in executive functioning in the PTSD+MDD group versus the PTSD-MDD group. In addition, the PTSD+MDD group showed reduced functional connectivity of the insula with the hippocampus compared to the PTSD-MDD group. However, this cluster was no longer significantly different when PTSD patients that were using medication were excluded from analyses. Thus, resting state functional connectivity of the subgenual ACC can distinguish PTSD+MDD from PTSD-MDD, and this may therefore be used as a neurobiological marker for comorbid MDD in the presence of PTSD. As PTSD+MDD are more treatment resistant, these findings can also guide treatment development, for example by targeting the subgenual ACC network with treatment.
- See more at: http://f1000research.com/articles/2-289/v2#reflist
F1000 Research 04/2014; 2(289). DOI:10.12688/f1000research.2-289.v2