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Mental Health - Neuroscience - Physiology - Radiology and Medical Imaging

Sex-Dependent Correlations between the Personality Dimension of Harm Avoidance and the Resting-State Functional Connectivity of Amygdala Subregions
Published: Friday, April 27, 2012
Author: Ying Li et al.

by Ying Li, Wen Qin, Tianzi Jiang, Yunting Zhang, Chunshui Yu

Harm avoidance (HA) is a personality dimension involving the tendency to respond intensely to signals of aversive stimuli. Many previous neuroimaging studies have associated HA scores with the structural and functional organization of the amygdala, but none of these studies have evaluated the correlation between HA score and amygdala resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC). Moreover, the amygdala is not a homogeneous structure, and it has been divided into several structurally and functionally distinct subregions. Investigating the associations between HA score and properties of subregions of the amygdala could greatly improve our understanding of HA. In the present study, using a large sample of 291 healthy young adults, we aimed to uncover correlations between HA scores and the rsFCs of each amygdala subregion and to uncover possible sex-based differences in these correlations. We found that subregions of the amygdala showed different rsFC patterns, which contributed differently to individual HA scores. More specifically, HA scores were correlated with rsFCs between the laterobasal amygdala subregion and temporal and occipital cortices related to emotional information input, between the centromedial subregion and the frontal cortices associated with emotional output control, and between the superficial subregion and the frontal and temporal areas involved in both functions. Moreover, significant gender-based differences were uncovered in these correlations. Our findings provide a more detailed model of association between HA scores and amygdala rsFC, extend our understanding of the connectivity of subregions of the amygdala, and confirm sex-based differences in HA associations.