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Sex matters: association between callous-unemotional traits and uncinate fasciculus microstructure in youths with conduct disorder


Villemonteix, Thomas; Rogers, Jack C; Courbet, Ophélie; González-Madruga, Karen; Kohls, Gregor; Raschle, Nora M; Stadler, Christina; Konrad, Kerstin; Freitag, Christine M; Fairchild, Graeme; De Brito, Stephane A (2022). Sex matters: association between callous-unemotional traits and uncinate fasciculus microstructure in youths with conduct disorder. Brain imaging and behavior, 16(1):263-269.

Abstract

Among youths with conduct disorder, those with callous-unemotional traits are at increased risk for persistent antisocial behaviour. Although callous-unemotional traits have been found to be associated with white-matter brain abnormalities, previous diffusion imaging studies were conducted in small samples, preventing examination of potential sex by callous-unemotional traits interaction effects on white matter. Here, we used tract-based spatial statistics at a whole-brain level and within regions of interest to compare the white matter correlates of callous-unemotional traits in female vs. male youths with conduct disorder, in a sample (n = 124) recruited through a multi-site protocol. A sex-specific association between callous-unemotional traits and white matter was found in the left uncinate fasciculus, where callous-unemotional traits were positively associated with axial diffusivity in males, while an opposite pattern was found in females. These findings are in line with previous studies suggesting that the uncinate fasciculus is a key tract implicated in the development of psychopathy, but also add to recent evidence showing that sexual dimorphism needs to be taken into account when examining the structural correlates of mental disorders in general, and callous-unemotional traits in conduct disorder in particular.

Abstract

Among youths with conduct disorder, those with callous-unemotional traits are at increased risk for persistent antisocial behaviour. Although callous-unemotional traits have been found to be associated with white-matter brain abnormalities, previous diffusion imaging studies were conducted in small samples, preventing examination of potential sex by callous-unemotional traits interaction effects on white matter. Here, we used tract-based spatial statistics at a whole-brain level and within regions of interest to compare the white matter correlates of callous-unemotional traits in female vs. male youths with conduct disorder, in a sample (n = 124) recruited through a multi-site protocol. A sex-specific association between callous-unemotional traits and white matter was found in the left uncinate fasciculus, where callous-unemotional traits were positively associated with axial diffusivity in males, while an opposite pattern was found in females. These findings are in line with previous studies suggesting that the uncinate fasciculus is a key tract implicated in the development of psychopathy, but also add to recent evidence showing that sexual dimorphism needs to be taken into account when examining the structural correlates of mental disorders in general, and callous-unemotional traits in conduct disorder in particular.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
06 Faculty of Arts > Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Imaging
Life Sciences > Neurology
Health Sciences > Neurology (clinical)
Life Sciences > Cognitive Neuroscience
Life Sciences > Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Life Sciences > Behavioral Neuroscience
Language:English
Date:1 February 2022
Deposited On:08 Nov 2021 13:33
Last Modified:27 Mar 2024 02:51
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1931-7557
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11682-021-00499-4
PubMed ID:34423395
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