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Cortical thickness, surface area, and folding alterations in male youths with conduct disorder and varying levels of callous–unemotional traits

Fairchild, Graeme and Toschi, Nicola and Hagan, Cindy C. and Goodyer, Ian M. and Calder, Andrew J. and Passamonti, Luca (2015) Cortical thickness, surface area, and folding alterations in male youths with conduct disorder and varying levels of callous–unemotional traits. NeuroImage: Clinical, 8 . pp. 253-260. ISSN 2213-1582. PMCID PMC4473851.

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Purpose: Previous studies have reported changes in gray matter volume in youths with conduct disorder (CD), although these differences are difficult to interpret as they may have been driven by alterations in cortical thickness, surface area (SA), or folding. The objective of this study was to use surface-based morphometry (SBM) methods to compare male youths with CD and age and sex-matched healthy controls (HCs) in cortical thickness, SA, and folding. We also tested for structural differences between the childhood-onset and adolescence-onset subtypes of CD and performed regression analyses to assess for relationships between CD symptoms and callous–unemotional (CU) traits and SBM-derived measures. Methods: We acquired structural neuroimaging data from 20 HCs and 36 CD participants (18 with childhood-onset CD and 18 with adolescence-onset CD) and analyzed the data using FreeSurfer. Results: Relative to HCs, youths with CD showed reduced cortical thickness in the superior temporal gyrus, reduced SA in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), and increased cortical folding in the insula. There were no significant differences between the childhood-onset and adolescence-onset CD subgroups in cortical thickness or SA, but several frontal and temporal regions showed increased cortical folding in childhood-onset relative to adolescence-onset CD participants. Both CD subgroups also showed increased cortical folding relative to HCs. CD symptoms were negatively correlated with OFC SA whereas CU traits were positively correlated with insula folding. Conclusions: Cortical thinning in the superior temporal gyrus may contribute to the social cognitive impairments displayed by youths with CD, whereas reduced OFC SA may lead to impairments in emotion regulation and reward processing in youths with CD. The increased cortical folding observed in the insula may reflect a maturational delay in this region and could mediate the link between CU traits and empathy deficits. Altered cortical folding was observed in childhood-onset and adolescence-onset forms of CD.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Fairchild, Graeme0000-0001-7814-9938
Hagan, Cindy C.0000-0002-4576-7120
Additional Information:© 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license ( Received 12 January 2015, Revised 10 April 2015, Accepted 28 April 2015, Available online 30 April 2015. This study was supported by Wellcome Trust project grant 083140 (Drs. Goodyer and Fairchild), Medical Research Council project code MC_US_A060_5PQ50 (Dr. Calder), and the Betty Behrens Research Fellowship at Clare Hall, Cambridge University (Dr. Passamonti). The authors would like to thank the participants and their families for taking part in this study, as well as the Cambridge Youth Offending Service for their help with recruitment.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Wellcome Trust083140
Medical Research Council (UK)MC_US_A060_5PQ50
Cambridge UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Surface based morphometry; Conduct disorder; Developmental taxonomic theory; Callous–unemotional traits
PubMed Central ID:PMC4473851
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200225-135945444
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Official Citation:Graeme Fairchild, Nicola Toschi, Cindy C. Hagan, Ian M. Goodyer, Andrew J. Calder, Luca Passamonti, Cortical thickness, surface area, and folding alterations in male youths with conduct disorder and varying levels of callous–unemotional traits, NeuroImage: Clinical, Volume 8, 2015, Pages 253-260, ISSN 2213-1582,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:101564
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:26 Feb 2020 15:38
Last Modified:26 Feb 2020 15:38

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