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Brain structure abnormalities in adolescent girls with conduct disorder

Fairchild, Graeme and Hagan, Cindy C. and Walsh, Nicholas D. and Passamonti, Luca and Calder, Andrew J. and Goodyer, Ian M. (2013) Brain structure abnormalities in adolescent girls with conduct disorder. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 54 (1). pp. 86-95. ISSN 0021-9630. PMCID PMC3562487. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2012.02617.x.

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Background: Conduct disorder (CD) in female adolescents is associated with a range of negative outcomes, including teenage pregnancy and antisocial personality disorder. Although recent studies have documented changes in brain structure and function in male adolescents with CD, there have been no neuroimaging studies of female adolescents with CD. Our primary objective was to investigate whether female adolescents with CD show changes in grey matter volume. Our secondary aim was to assess for sex differences in the relationship between CD and brain structure. Methods: Female adolescents with CD (n = 22) and healthy control participants matched in age, performance IQ and handedness (n = 20) underwent structural magnetic resonance imaging. Group comparisons of grey matter volume were performed using voxel‐based morphometry. We also tested for sex differences using archive data obtained from male CD and control participants. Results: Female adolescents with CD showed reduced bilateral anterior insula and right striatal grey matter volumes compared with healthy controls. Aggressive CD symptoms were negatively correlated with right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex volume, whereas callous‐unemotional traits were positively correlated with bilateral orbitofrontal cortex volume. The sex differences analyses revealed a main effect of diagnosis on right amygdala volume (reflecting reduced amygdala volume in the combined CD group relative to controls) and sex‐by‐diagnosis interactions in bilateral anterior insula. Conclusions: We observed structural abnormalities in brain regions involved in emotion processing, reward and empathy in female adolescents with CD, which broadly overlap with those reported in previous studies of CD in male adolescents.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Fairchild, Graeme0000-0001-7814-9938
Hagan, Cindy C.0000-0002-4576-7120
Additional Information:© 2012 The Authors. Accepted for publication: 8 August 2012. Published online: 22 October 2012. We thank our participants and their parents for taking part in the study. We are also grateful to the schools, pupil referral units and the Cambridge Youth Offending Service for their help with participant recruitment. The study was funded by Project Grant #083140 from the Wellcome Trust and Medical Research Council project code MC_US_A060_5PQ50. The authors report no conflicts of interest.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Wellcome Trust083140
Medical Research Council (UK)MC_US_A060_5PQ50
Subject Keywords:Conduct disorder, callous-unemotional traits, voxel-based morphometry, anterior insula, amygdala, sex differences
Issue or Number:1
PubMed Central ID:PMC3562487
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200225-135944576
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Fairchild, G., Hagan, C.C., Walsh, N.D., Passamonti, L., Calder, A.J. and Goodyer, I.M. (2013), Brain structure abnormalities in adolescent girls with conduct disorder. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 54: 86-95. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2012.02617.x
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:101556
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:26 Feb 2020 16:19
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:03

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