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Valence-Dependent Coupling of Prefrontal-Amygdala Effective Connectivity during Facial Affect Processing


Willinger, David; Karipidis, Iliana I; Beltrani, Selina; Di Pietro, Sarah V; Sladky, Ronald; Walitza, Susanne; Stämpfli, Philipp; Brem, Silvia (2019). Valence-Dependent Coupling of Prefrontal-Amygdala Effective Connectivity during Facial Affect Processing. eNeuro, 6(4):online.

Abstract

Despite the importance of the prefrontal-amygdala (AMY) network for emotion processing, valence-dependent coupling within this network remains elusive. In this study, we assessed the effect of emotional valence on brain activity and effective connectivity. We tested which functional pathways within the prefrontal-AMY network are specifically engaged during the processing of emotional valence. Thirty-three healthy adults were examined with functional magnetic resonance imaging while performing a dynamic faces and dynamic shapes matching task. The valence of the facial expressions varied systematically between positive, negative, and neutral across the task. Functional contrasts determined core areas of the emotion processing circuitry, comprising the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC), the right lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC), the AMY, and the right fusiform face area (FFA). Dynamic causal modelling demonstrated that the bidirectional coupling within the prefrontal-AMY circuitry is modulated by emotional valence. Additionally, Bayesian model averaging showed significant bottom-up connectivity from the AMY to the MPFC during negative and neutral, but not positive, valence. Thus, our study provides strong evidence for alterations of bottom-up coupling within the prefrontal-AMY network as a function of emotional valence. Thereby our results not only advance the understanding of the human prefrontal-AMY circuitry in varying valence context, but, moreover, provide a model to examine mechanisms of valence-sensitive emotional dysregulation in neuropsychiatric disorders.

Abstract

Despite the importance of the prefrontal-amygdala (AMY) network for emotion processing, valence-dependent coupling within this network remains elusive. In this study, we assessed the effect of emotional valence on brain activity and effective connectivity. We tested which functional pathways within the prefrontal-AMY network are specifically engaged during the processing of emotional valence. Thirty-three healthy adults were examined with functional magnetic resonance imaging while performing a dynamic faces and dynamic shapes matching task. The valence of the facial expressions varied systematically between positive, negative, and neutral across the task. Functional contrasts determined core areas of the emotion processing circuitry, comprising the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC), the right lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC), the AMY, and the right fusiform face area (FFA). Dynamic causal modelling demonstrated that the bidirectional coupling within the prefrontal-AMY circuitry is modulated by emotional valence. Additionally, Bayesian model averaging showed significant bottom-up connectivity from the AMY to the MPFC during negative and neutral, but not positive, valence. Thus, our study provides strong evidence for alterations of bottom-up coupling within the prefrontal-AMY network as a function of emotional valence. Thereby our results not only advance the understanding of the human prefrontal-AMY circuitry in varying valence context, but, moreover, provide a model to examine mechanisms of valence-sensitive emotional dysregulation in neuropsychiatric disorders.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
04 Faculty of Medicine > Neuroscience Center Zurich
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > General Neuroscience
Language:English
Date:9 July 2019
Deposited On:15 Aug 2019 14:52
Last Modified:15 Apr 2020 23:58
Publisher:Society for Neuroscience
ISSN:2373-2822
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1523/ENEURO.0079-19.2019
PubMed ID:31289107

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