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Resting-state cerebral blood flow in amygdala is modulated by sex and serotonin transporter genotype

El-Hage, W., Zelaya, F., Radua, J., Gohier, B., Alsop, D. C., Phillips, Mary L. and Surguladze, S. A. 2013. Resting-state cerebral blood flow in amygdala is modulated by sex and serotonin transporter genotype. NeuroImage 76 , pp. 90-97. 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.03.003

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Serotonin transporter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) has been associated with modulation of resting-state amygdala level, which was considered to underlie a risk for mood and anxiety disorders. The findings however have been inconsistent which could be related to interactions of the genotype with other factors e.g. sex or personality characteristics. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to explore the modulation of the amygdala perfusion in the resting-state by sex and 5-HTTLPR/rs25531 genotype, controlled for personality dimensions assessed by Temperament and Character Inventory (Cloninger et al., 1994). The resting-state cerebral blood flow (rCBF) was examined using an arterial spin labelling technique. All participants were genotyped for the 5-HTTLPR/rs25531 genotype (L/L–L/S–S/S genotypes and LA–LG variants). The study group comprised 81 right-handed Caucasian healthy volunteers (42 females) aged 19–55 years. We measured rCBF in the amygdala and in the whole-brain grey matter. The data of blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) response in amygdala to fearful dynamic faces in the same sample were also analysed. There was a significant main effect of sex in both the left and right amygdalae, with higher rCBF in males. Main effect of 5-HTTLPR/rs25531 genotype which was significant in the right amygdala only, was accounted for by higher rCBF in S/S vs. L/L homozygotes. An interaction between sex and 5-HTTLPR/rs25531 genotype was observed in rCBF in the right amygdala. This was accounted for by higher values of rCBF in the right amygdala in males' S allele carriers compared with females. In females, there was a significant negative correlation between the rCBF and BOLD response in the right amygdala, and more so in S carriers. In males, there was no significant correlation between rCBF and BOLD response in the right amygdala. The novelty of our results lies in the demonstration of gene by sex interaction with resting blood flow in the amygdala that elucidates sex-related differences in emotional reactivity.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Amygdala; Serotonin transporter; Brain perfusion; Gender; Affective disorders
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1053-8119
Date of Acceptance: 5 March 2013
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2017 10:40

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