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Perceived stress is associated with increased rostral middle frontal gyrus cortical thickness: a family‐based and discordant‐sibling investigation

Michalski, L. J. ; Demers, C. H. ; Baranger, D. A. A. ; Barch, D. M. ; Harms, M. P. ; Burgess, G. C. ; Bogdan, R.

Genes, Brain and Behavior, November 2017, Vol.16(8), pp.781-789 [Periódico revisado por pares]

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  • Título:
    Perceived stress is associated with increased rostral middle frontal gyrus cortical thickness: a family‐based and discordant‐sibling investigation
  • Autor: Michalski, L. J. ; Demers, C. H. ; Baranger, D. A. A. ; Barch, D. M. ; Harms, M. P. ; Burgess, G. C. ; Bogdan, R.
  • Assuntos: Rostral Middle Frontal Gyrus ; Prefrontal Cortical Thickness ; Perceived Stress ; Depression ; Discordant Twins ; Heritability ; Etiology ; Solar ; Positive Affect ; Neurobiology
  • É parte de: Genes, Brain and Behavior, November 2017, Vol.16(8), pp.781-789
  • Descrição: Elevated stress perception and depression commonly co‐occur, suggesting that they share a common neurobiology. Cortical thickness of the rostral middle frontal gyrus (RMFG), a region critical for executive function, has been associated with depression‐ and stress‐related phenotypes. Here, we examined whether RMFG cortical thickness is associated with these phenotypes in a large family‐based community sample. RMFG cortical thickness was estimated using FreeSurfer among participants ( = 879) who completed the ongoing Human Connectome Project. Depression‐related phenotypes (i.e. sadness, positive affect) and perceived stress were assessed via self‐report. After accounting for sex, age, ethnicity, average whole‐brain cortical thickness, twin status and familial structure, RMFG thickness was positively associated with perceived stress and sadness and negatively associated with positive affect at small effect sizes (accounting for 0.2–2.4% of variance; p‐fdr: 0.0051–0.1900). Perceived stress was uniquely associated with RMFG thickness after accounting for depression‐related phenotypes. Further, among siblings discordant for perceived stress, those reporting higher perceived stress had increased RMFG thickness ( = 4 × 10). Lastly, RMFG thickness, perceived stress, depressive symptoms, and positive affect were all significantly heritable, with evidence of shared genetic and environmental contributions between self‐report measures. Stress perception and depression share common genetic, environmental, and neural correlates. Variability in RMFG cortical thickness may play a role in stress‐related depression, although effects may be small in magnitude. Prospective studies are required to examine whether variability in RMFG thickness may function as a risk factor for stress exposure and/or perception, and/or arises as a consequence of these phenotypes. RMFG cortical thickness among siblings discordant for perceived stress. Among sibling pairs discordant for perceived stress, those who reported relatively high levels (≥ 0.5 SD units above the mean) had thicker right RMFG relative to those reporting relatively low levels (≤ 0.5 standard deviation units below the mean;  = 4 × 10). Error bars depict standard error of the mean.

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