Sex differences in orbito-frontal gray as a partial explanation for sex differences in antisocial personality

Department of Criminology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
Molecular Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 14.5). 12/2009; 16(2):227-36. DOI: 10.1038/mp.2009.136
Source: PubMed


Attention is increasingly being given to understanding sex difference in psychopathology to better understand the etiology of disorders. This study tests the hypothesis that sex differences in ventral and middle frontal gray volume contribute to sex differences in antisocial personality disorder (APD) and crime. Participants were recruited from temporary employment agencies, consisting of normal controls, substance/alcohol-dependent controls, axis I/II psychiatric controls and individuals with APD. An independent sample of female volunteers was also recruited. Magnetic resonance imaging volumes of superior frontal, middle frontal, inferior frontal, orbital frontal and rectal gyral frontal gray matter, and dimensional scores of APD and criminal behavior were assessed. APD males when compared with male controls showed an 8.7% reduction in orbitofrontal gray volume, a 17.3% reduction in middle frontal gray and a 16.1% reduction in right rectal gray. Reduced middle and orbitofrontal volumes were significantly associated with increased APD symptoms and criminal offending in both males and females. Males as a whole had reduced orbitofrontal and middle frontal gray volume when compared with females, and controlling for these brain differences reduced the gender difference in the antisocial personality/behavior by 77.3%. Findings were not a function of psychiatric comorbidity, psychosocial risk factors, head injury or trauma exposure. Findings implicate structural differences in the ventral and middle frontal gray as both a risk factor for APD and as a partial explanation for sex differences in APD.

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    • "The medial OFC plays a role in emotion regulation and reward and punishment processing (O3Doherty et al., 2001). Several studies have linked deficits in these processes to disruptive behavior disorders in adolescents (Fairchild et al., 2013a; Huebner et al., 2008) and antisocial personality disorder (Raine et al., 2011) and psychopathy in adults (de Oliveira-Souza et al., 2008; Decety et al., 2013; Decety et al., 2013; Yang et al., 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Because the disruptive behavior disorders are highly impairing conditions, it is important to determine if structural variations in brain are associated early in life with these problems among children. Structural MRI data were acquired from 111 9-11 year olds (58 girls and 53 boys), 43 who met diagnostic criteria for oppositional defiant disorder and/or conduct disorder and 68 healthy controls. Voxel-based morphometry was used to examine associations of behavioral measures with gray matter volumes in whole-brain analyses. Unlike previous studies, variation in gray matter volume was not found to be associated with a disruptive behavior disorder diagnosis in any brain region at p < .o5 with FWE correction. Nonetheless, an inverse nonlinear association of the number of conduct disorder (CD) symptoms with gray matter volume along the left superior temporal sulcus was significant in the full sample (p < .o5 with FWE correction), with a trend in the right hemisphere (p < 0.001 uncorrected). There also was a trend towards a stronger association of the number of CD symptoms with gray matter volume along the left superior temporal sulcus in girls than boys. The present findings did not replicate previous findings of reduced gray matter volumes in the anterior insula, amygdala, and frontal cortex in youth with CD, but are consistent with previous findings of reduced gray matter volumes in temporal regions, particularly in girls.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Clinical neuroimaging
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    • "Smaller and larger left amygdala volumes in girls and in boys, respectively, were associated with their ability to control emotions [31]. Taken together, these findings suggest that structural differences in the OFC and amygdala might not only be potential risk factors for developing APD in adulthood but could also serve as an explanation for sex differences in APD [29]. Two previous studies have reported abnormalities in the UF in only male CD [18] [19]; therefore, in this study, we recruited well-matched individuals and directly compared microstructural changes of the UF between males with CD and females with CD and between CD females and female healthy controls. "
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    ABSTRACT: Conduct disorder (CD) is one of the most common behavior disorders in adolescents, such as impulsivity, aggression, and running from school. Males are more likely to develop CD than females, and two previous diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies have demonstrated abnormal microstructural integrity in the uncinate fasciculus (UF) in boys with CD compared to a healthy control group. However, little is known about changes in the UF in females with CD. In this study, the UF was illustrated by tractography; then, the fractional anisotropy (FA), axial diffusivity, mean diffusion, radial diffusivity (RD), and the length and number of the UF fiber bundles were compared between male and female patients with CD and between female patients with CD and female healthy controls, as well as between males with CD and healthy males. We found that males with CD showed significantly higher FA of the bilateral UF and significantly lower RD of the left UF when comparing with females with CD. Meanwhile, significantly higher FA and lower RD of the bilateral UF were also found in boys with CD relative to the male healthy controls. Our results replicated previous reports that the microstructural integrity of the UF was abnormal in boys with CD. Additionally, our results demonstrated significant gender effects on the UF of patients with CD, which may indicate why boys have higher rates of conduct problems than girls.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014
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    • "To date, studies have found structural and functional differences in the orbitofrontal cortex in antisocial individuals; these findings have been implicated as risk factors for antisocial personality disorder. A study by Adrian Raine et al. found that APD males showed an 8.7% reduction in orbitofrontal gray volume compared to male controls; reduced orbitofrontal volumes were significantly associated with increased APD symptoms and criminal offending in both males and females, indicating robustness of antisocial neuroanatomical relationships [24]. A meta-analysis of brain-imaging findings related to antisocial behavior that evaluated the relationship between prefrontal impairments and antisocial/violent/psychopathic behavior demonstrated that increased antisocial behavior was particularly associated with structural and functional reductions in the right orbitofrontal cortex [25]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) is a personality disorder that is most commonly associated with the legal and criminal justice systems. The study of the brain in APD has important implications in legal contexts and in helping ensure social stability. However, the neural contribution to the high prevalence of APD is still unclear. In this study, we used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the underlying neural mechanisms of APD. Thirty-two healthy individuals and thirty-five patients with APD were recruited. The amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (ALFF) was analyzed for the whole brain of all subjects. Our results showed that APD patients had a significant reduction in the ALFF in the right orbitofrontal cortex, the left temporal pole, the right inferior temporal gyrus, and the left cerebellum posterior lobe compared to normal controls. We observed that the right orbitofrontal cortex had a negative correlation between ALFF values and MMPI psychopathic deviate scores. Alterations in ALFF in these specific brain regions suggest that APD patients may be associated with abnormal activities in the fronto-temporal network. We propose that our results may contribute in a clinical and forensic context to a better understanding of APD.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · PLoS ONE
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