In this project we will evaluate whether the microstructural properties of white matter connections in the brain are related to abnormalities in emotion regulation in both human adolescents and nonhuman primates. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) will be used to characterize white matter microstructure of pathways (primarily through the uncinate fasciculus) between the amygdala and prefrontal cortex, which form the primary brain circuitry for emotion regulation. There are four aims of this project.
The first aim i s to related DTI measurements in the uncinate fasciculus of monkeys to measures of amygdala reactivity and chronic stress exposure (with Project 1). We predict that monkeys with high amygdala reactivity and stress exposure will demonstrate the most abnormal connections in this white matter region. The second and third aims are to relate DTI measures in the uncinate fasciculus of well-characterized human adolescent groups. (Projects 2 and 3) to pediatric measures of cortisol (Project 2) and genetic versus experiential factors related to internalizing disorders (Project 3). We predict that the uncinate fasciculus microstructure will be abnormal in adolescents with (a) high chronic levels of pediatric cortisol, and (b) risk of internalizing disorders.
The fourth aim i s to relate DTI measures in the uncinate fasciculus with fMRI measures of emotion regulation in adolescents (Project 4). We predict that the DTI properties of the uncinate fasciculus will be related to the fMRI signals in response to emotion regulation tasks
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