Elevated gray matter volume of the emotional cerebellum in women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder

Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California Los Angele, CA 90095, USA
Journal of Affective Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.38). 08/2012; 146(2). DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2012.06.038
Source: PubMed


Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is characterized by severe, negative mood symptoms during the luteal phase of each menstrual cycle. We recently reported that women with PMDD show a greater increase in relative glucose metabolism in the posterior cerebellum from the follicular to the luteal phase, as compared with healthy women, and that the phase-related increase is proportional to PMDD symptom severity. We extended this work with a study of brain structure in PMDD.

High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were obtained from 12 women with PMDD and 13 healthy control subjects (whole-brain volume-corrected p<.05). Voxel-based morphometry was used to assess group differences in cerebral grey-matter volume (GMV), using a statistical criterion of p<.05, correcting for multiple comparisons in the whole-brain volume.

PMDD subjects had greater GMV than controls in the posterior cerebellum but not in any other brain area. Age was negatively correlated with GMV within this region in healthy women, but not in women with PMDD. The group difference in GMV was significant for women over age 30(p=.0002) but not younger participants (p>.1).

PMDD appears to be associated with reduced age-related loss in posterior cerebellar GMV. Although the mechanism underlying this finding is unclear, cumulative effects of symptom-related cerebellar activity may be involved.

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