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Brain Structure Abnormalities in Early-Onset and Adolescent-Onset Conduct Disorder

Fairchild, Graeme and Passamonti, Luca and Hurford, Georgina and Hagan, Cindy C. and von dem Hagen, Elisabeth A. H. and van Goozen, Stephanie H. M. and Goodyer, Ian M. and Calder, Andrew J. (2011) Brain Structure Abnormalities in Early-Onset and Adolescent-Onset Conduct Disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 168 (6). pp. 624-633. ISSN 0002-953X.

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Objective: The developmental taxonomic theory proposes that neurodevelopmental factors play a critical role in the etiology of early-onset conduct disorder, whereas adolescent-onset conduct disorder arises as a result of social mimicry of deviant peers. Recent studies have challenged this theory by demonstrating that adolescents with both early- and adolescent-onset forms of conduct disorder show impaired emotional learning and abnormal neural activation during facial expression processing. The present study extends this work by investigating brain structure in both subtypes of conduct disorder. Method: Voxel-based morphometry was used to compare gray matter volumes in four regions of interest (amygdala, insula, anterior cingulate, and orbitofrontal cortex) in male adolescents with early-onset (N=36) or adolescent-onset (N=27) conduct disorder and in healthy comparison subjects (N=27). Whole-brain structural analyses were also performed. Results: The combined conduct disorder group displayed gray matter volume reductions in the bilateral amygdala, extending into the insula, relative to healthy comparison subjects. Separate comparisons between healthy subjects and each conduct disorder subgroup revealed lower amygdala volume in both subgroups and reduced right insula volume in the adolescent-onset subgroup. Regression analyses within the conduct disorder subjects alone demonstrated a negative correlation between conduct disorder symptoms and right insula volume. Conclusions: The results demonstrate that gray matter volume reductions in brain regions involved in processing socioemotional stimuli are associated with conduct disorder, regardless of age of onset. Brain structural abnormalities may contribute to the emergence of adolescent-onset as well as early-onset conduct disorder.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Fairchild, Graeme0000-0001-7814-9938
Hagan, Cindy C.0000-0002-4576-7120
Additional Information:© 2011 American Psychiatric Association. Received Aug. 20, 2010; revision received Nov. 16, 2010; accepted Dec. 20, 2010. All authors report no financial relationships with commercial interests. Dr. Fairchild declares that he had full access to all data and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and accuracy of the data analysis. Funded by Wellcome Trust grant 083140 (Drs. Fairchild, van Goozen, and Goodyer) and Medical Research Council project U.1055.02.001.00001.01 (Dr. Calder). Dr. Passamonti was supported by the Betty Behrens Research Fellowship at Clare Hall, Cambridge University. Research for the present study was completed within the National Institute of Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. The authors thank the participants and their parents and teachers for taking part in the study. The authors also thank the schools, pupil referral units, and the Cambridge Youth Offending Service for their help with participant recruitment.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Wellcome Trust083140
Medical Research Council (UK)U.1055.02.001.00001.01
Betty Behrens Research FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200225-135944478
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:101555
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:26 Feb 2020 16:26
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:18

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