Temperament at 5 years of age predicts amygdala and orbitofrontal volume in the right hemisphere in adolescence

Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 3811 O' Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.
Psychiatry Research (Impact Factor: 2.47). 03/2010; 182(1):14-21. DOI: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2009.11.006
Source: PubMed


It was of interest to determine if hemispheric differences in orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) volume would be related to behavioral inhibition observed in a peer-play setting. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was carried out in 23 individuals (19 males and 4 females) at an average age of 14.87+/-1.14 years who were either at high or low risk for alcohol dependence. All subjects had previously been evaluated in a preschool peer play paradigm (5.03+/-0.78 years) assessing behavioral inhibition. Region of interest measures were traced for the OFC and the amygdala, and confirmed with voxel based morphometry. Behavioral inhibition, a behavioral tendency that often occurs in a novel setting in reaction to strangers, includes the following: greater time spent next to the mother, greater time staring at another child, and longer latency to begin play with another child. A significant relationship was seen between greater right OFC volume and indicators of behavioral inhibition including greater time spent proximal to their mother and greater time staring at the other child. Also, larger amygdala volume was associated with more time spent proximal to the mother. Behavioral control, including both over- and under-control, is likely to be subserved by neural circuitry associated with emotion regulation including the right OFC and the amygdala.

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