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Callous-unemotional traits and brain structure: Sex-specific effects in anterior insula of typically-developing youths

Callous-unemotional traits and brain structure: Sex-specific effects in anterior insula of typically-developing youths
Callous-unemotional traits and brain structure: Sex-specific effects in anterior insula of typically-developing youths

Callous-unemotional traits are characterized by a lack of empathy, a disregard for others' feelings and shallow or deficient affect, such as a lack of remorse or guilt. Neuroanatomical correlates of callous-unemotional traits have been demonstrated in clinical samples (i.e., adolescents with disruptive behavior disorders). However, it is unknown whether callous-unemotional traits are associated with neuroanatomical correlates within normative populations without clinical levels of aggression or antisocial behavior. Here we investigated the relationship between callous-unemotional traits and gray matter volume using voxel-based morphometry in a large sample of typically-developing boys and girls (N = 189). Whole-brain multiple regression analyses controlling for site, total intracranial volume, and age were conducted in the whole sample and in boys and girls individually. Results revealed that sex and callous-unemotional traits interacted to predict gray matter volume when considering the whole sample. This interaction was driven by a significant positive correlation between callous-unemotional traits and bilateral anterior insula volume in boys, but not girls. Insula gray matter volume explained 19% of the variance in callous-unemotional traits for boys. Our results demonstrate that callous-unemotional traits are related to variations in brain structure beyond psychiatric samples. This association was observed for boys only, underlining the importance of considering sex as a factor in future research designs. Future longitudinal studies should determine whether these findings hold over childhood and adolescence, and whether the neuroanatomical correlates of callous-unemotional traits are predictive of future psychiatric vulnerability. General scientific summary This study suggests that callous-unemotional traits have a neuroanatomical correlate within typically developing boys, but not girls. Bilateral anterior insula volume explains up to 19% of the variance in callous-unemotional traits in boys.

Callous-unemotional traits, Insula, Pediatric neuroimaging, Sex differences, Voxel-based morphometry
2213-1582
856-864
Raschle, Nora Maria
b35b8bf8-f5a9-453e-b326-f4a267493be0
Menks, Willeke Martine
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Fehlbaum, Lynn Valérie
85ff234a-161e-4fec-8f7e-0304600fbec1
Steppan, Martin
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Smaragdi, Areti
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Gonzalez-Madruga, Karen
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Rogers, Jack
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Clanton, Roberta
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Kohls, Gregor
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Martinelli, Anne
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Bernhard, Anka
ac29064a-36c6-4d17-acd0-7e0c1f2bccc6
Konrad, Kerstin
327d1cf7-6ccd-4f2a-8391-6bbf9e4f6905
Herpertz-Dahlmann, Beate
67af4e2a-5cdf-46d1-bf89-c27b5f1ae67a
Freitag, Christine M.
05f89bf2-49e2-4803-8c7e-3f4d25bf79d8
Fairchild, Graeme
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Stadler, Christina
ee3bd6ab-e3fe-436b-987d-266764f4acde
Raschle, Nora Maria
b35b8bf8-f5a9-453e-b326-f4a267493be0
Menks, Willeke Martine
19cd53c6-2336-4b1e-ba61-7100baf8f5c0
Fehlbaum, Lynn Valérie
85ff234a-161e-4fec-8f7e-0304600fbec1
Steppan, Martin
784c4a45-67c6-4090-86bf-46f5ceb599cc
Smaragdi, Areti
b090586a-a5c3-4ec0-b05e-167a5a0f4543
Gonzalez-Madruga, Karen
3e194679-da6d-4392-9668-440541e4952f
Rogers, Jack
8844ca15-f92f-4005-9e72-fea8423f7561
Clanton, Roberta
25d1a52d-40e4-4fbb-8630-eec8642ad7d7
Kohls, Gregor
5cdfb4bb-1d92-46da-8359-35eb14bdfd6c
Martinelli, Anne
e07ef50f-496f-4b1d-965d-9c407f0d37e2
Bernhard, Anka
ac29064a-36c6-4d17-acd0-7e0c1f2bccc6
Konrad, Kerstin
327d1cf7-6ccd-4f2a-8391-6bbf9e4f6905
Herpertz-Dahlmann, Beate
67af4e2a-5cdf-46d1-bf89-c27b5f1ae67a
Freitag, Christine M.
05f89bf2-49e2-4803-8c7e-3f4d25bf79d8
Fairchild, Graeme
f99bc911-978e-48c2-9754-c6460666a95f
Stadler, Christina
ee3bd6ab-e3fe-436b-987d-266764f4acde

Raschle, Nora Maria, Menks, Willeke Martine, Fehlbaum, Lynn Valérie, Steppan, Martin, Smaragdi, Areti, Gonzalez-Madruga, Karen, Rogers, Jack, Clanton, Roberta, Kohls, Gregor, Martinelli, Anne, Bernhard, Anka, Konrad, Kerstin, Herpertz-Dahlmann, Beate, Freitag, Christine M., Fairchild, Graeme and Stadler, Christina (2018) Callous-unemotional traits and brain structure: Sex-specific effects in anterior insula of typically-developing youths. NeuroImage: Clinical, 17, 856-864. (doi:10.1016/j.nicl.2017.12.015).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Callous-unemotional traits are characterized by a lack of empathy, a disregard for others' feelings and shallow or deficient affect, such as a lack of remorse or guilt. Neuroanatomical correlates of callous-unemotional traits have been demonstrated in clinical samples (i.e., adolescents with disruptive behavior disorders). However, it is unknown whether callous-unemotional traits are associated with neuroanatomical correlates within normative populations without clinical levels of aggression or antisocial behavior. Here we investigated the relationship between callous-unemotional traits and gray matter volume using voxel-based morphometry in a large sample of typically-developing boys and girls (N = 189). Whole-brain multiple regression analyses controlling for site, total intracranial volume, and age were conducted in the whole sample and in boys and girls individually. Results revealed that sex and callous-unemotional traits interacted to predict gray matter volume when considering the whole sample. This interaction was driven by a significant positive correlation between callous-unemotional traits and bilateral anterior insula volume in boys, but not girls. Insula gray matter volume explained 19% of the variance in callous-unemotional traits for boys. Our results demonstrate that callous-unemotional traits are related to variations in brain structure beyond psychiatric samples. This association was observed for boys only, underlining the importance of considering sex as a factor in future research designs. Future longitudinal studies should determine whether these findings hold over childhood and adolescence, and whether the neuroanatomical correlates of callous-unemotional traits are predictive of future psychiatric vulnerability. General scientific summary This study suggests that callous-unemotional traits have a neuroanatomical correlate within typically developing boys, but not girls. Bilateral anterior insula volume explains up to 19% of the variance in callous-unemotional traits in boys.

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Accepted/In Press date: 7 December 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 9 December 2017
Published date: 2018
Keywords: Callous-unemotional traits, Insula, Pediatric neuroimaging, Sex differences, Voxel-based morphometry

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 417474
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/417474
ISSN: 2213-1582
PURE UUID: f2e441b1-d18e-4e72-a9bd-b5f790a38d7d
ORCID for Graeme Fairchild: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7814-9938

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Date deposited: 01 Feb 2018 17:30
Last modified: 06 Jun 2018 12:33

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Contributors

Author: Nora Maria Raschle
Author: Willeke Martine Menks
Author: Lynn Valérie Fehlbaum
Author: Martin Steppan
Author: Areti Smaragdi
Author: Karen Gonzalez-Madruga
Author: Jack Rogers
Author: Roberta Clanton
Author: Gregor Kohls
Author: Anne Martinelli
Author: Anka Bernhard
Author: Kerstin Konrad
Author: Beate Herpertz-Dahlmann
Author: Christine M. Freitag
Author: Graeme Fairchild ORCID iD
Author: Christina Stadler

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