Reduced Visual Cortex Gray Matter Volume and Thickness in Young Adults Who Witnessed Domestic Violence during Childhood

Developmental Biopsychiatry Research Program, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts, United States of America
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 12/2012; 7(12):e52528. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0052528
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Exposure to interparental violence is associated with negative outcomes, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and reduced cognitive abilities. However, little is known about the potential effects of witnessing domestic violence during childhood on gray matter volume (GMV) or cortical thickness. High-resolution 3.0 T volumetric scans (Siemens Trio Scanner) were obtained on 52 subjects (18-25 years) including 22 (6 males/16 females) with a history of visually witnessing episodes of domestic violence, and 30 (8 males/22 females) unexposed control subjects, with neither a current nor past DSM-IV Axis I or II disorder. Potential confounding effects of age, gender, level of parental verbal aggression, parental education, financial stress, full scale IQ, and total GMV, or average thickness were modeled using voxel based morphometry and FreeSurfer. Witnessing domestic violence subjects had a 6.1% GMV reduction in the right lingual gyrus (BA18) (P = 0.029, False Discovery Rate corrected peak level). Thickness in this region was also reduced, as was thickness in V2 bilaterally and left occipital pole. Theses regions were maximally sensitive to exposure to witnessing domestic violence between 11-13 years of age. Regional reductions in GMV and thickness were observed in both susceptible and resilient witnessing domestic violence subjects. Results in subjects witnessing domestic violence were similar to previously reported results in subjects with childhood sexual abuse, as the primary region affected was visual cortex. Brain regions that process and convey the adverse sensory input of the abuse may be specifically modified by this experience, particularly in subjects exposed to a single type of maltreatment. Exposure to multiple types of maltreatment is more commonly associated with morphological alterations in corticolimbic regions. These findings fit with preclinical studies showing that visual cortex is a highly plastic structure.

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    • "Interestingly, it has been proposed that chronic exposure to a specific type of adversity primarily affects the development of sensory systems that process or convey the adverse sensory input. Subjects witnessing domestic violence during childhood reported reduced grey matter (GM) volume in visual cortex (Tomoda et al., 2013). Similarly, an increase in grey matter volume in left superior temporal gyrus (auditory cortex) was observed in a sample of young adults exposed to high levels of parental verbal abuse (Choi et al., 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) can lead to several negative consequences in adult life, are highly prevalent in psychiatric disorders where they associate with clinical and brain morphological features. Grey matter volume loss is a central characteristic of bipolar disorder (BD) and schizophrenia (SCZ). The aim of this study is to measure the effect of diagnosis and ACE on GM volume in a sample of patients with BD or SCZ compared with healthy controls (HC). Methods: We studied 206 depressed BD patients, 96 SCZ patients and 136 healthy subjects. GM volumes were estimated with 3.0 Tesla MRI and analyzed with VBM technique. The effect of diagnosis was investigated in the whole sample and separately exposed to high and low ACE subjects. Results: An effect of diagnosis was observed in orbitofrontal cortex encompassing BA 47 and insula, and in the thalamus. HC had the highest volume and SCZ patients the lowest with BD patients showing an intermediate volume. This pattern persisted only in subjects with high ACE. No differences were observed for low ACE subjects. Limitations: The three diagnostic groups differ for age and education, previous and current medications, and treatment periods. Conclusions: Our results underline the importance of ACE on the neural underpinnings of psychiatric psychopathology and suggest a major role of exposure to ACE for the GM deficits to reveal in clinical populations. Exposure to early stress is a crucial factor that must be taken in to account when searching for biomarkers of BD and SCZ.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Journal of Affective Disorders
    • "influenced by the severity of psychotic or depressive symptoms ( Fisher et al . , 2011 ) . Neurobiology also provides convergent support , as unbiased whole brain analyses delineate alteration in visual cortex ( Tomoda et al . , 2012 ) and visual - limbic pathway ( Choi et al . , 2012 ) in adults witnessing domestic violence , in auditory cortex ( Tomoda et al . , 2012 ) and auditory pathways ( Choi et al . , 2012 ) in adults report - ing exposure to parental verbal abuse , and in genital representation area of somatosensory cortex in women reporting childhood sexual abuse ( Heim et al . , 2013 ) . Hence , there is forensic / anatomical evi - dence at the group level supporting the veracity of self - "
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    ABSTRACT: Childhood maltreatment increases risk for mood, anxiety, substance use and personality disorders and is associated with alterations in structure, function and connectivity of brain regions involved in emotional regulation. We sought to assess whether maltreatment was specifically associated with disturbances in positive or negative mood regulation. Ecological momentary ratings were collected with a wristwatch-like device with joy-stick (Seiko ecolog) approximately six times per day over a week in 60 unmedicated participants (22 control, 38 maltreated, 18-25 years old). Forty-five percent of maltreated subjects had a history of major depression but all were currently euthymic. Principal component analysis with varimax rotation was used to provide orthogonal measures of positive and negative valence, which were analyzed for indices of variability, circadian rhythmicity and persistence, using linear and non-linear hierarchical modeling and Hurst analysis. Groups did not differ in mean levels of positive or negative affect. Maltreated subjects had increased variability and circadian and hemicircadian abnormalities in ratings of positive but not negative affect. Conversely, they had higher estimated Hurst exponents for negative but not positive affect ratings indicating a greater degree of persistence. Abnormalities in variability, rhythmicity and persistence were present in both maltreated subjects with and without histories of major depression. These findings suggest that both positive and negative valence systems may be dysregulated in individuals with childhood maltreatment. However the nature of the dysregulation appears to differ fundamentally in these domains, as positive mood ratings were more variable and negative ratings more persistent.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Journal of Psychiatric Research
    • "Interestingly, it has been proposed that chronic exposure to a specific type of adversity primarily affects the development of sensory systems that process or convey the adverse sensory input. Subjects witnessing domestic violence during childhood reported reduced grey matter (GM) volume in visual cortex (Tomoda et al., 2013). Similarly, an increase in grey matter volume in left superior temporal gyrus (auditory cortex) was observed in a sample of young adults exposed to high levels of parental verbal abuse (Choi et al., 2009). "

    No preview · Conference Paper · Sep 2015
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