Aberrant amygdala functional connectivity at rest in pediatric anxiety disordersReport as inadecuate

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Biology of Mood and Anxiety Disorders

, 4:15

First Online: 09 December 2014Received: 29 August 2014Accepted: 28 November 2014


BackgroundChildhood onset of anxiety disorders is associated with greater functional impairment and burden across the lifespan. Recent work suggests that generalized anxiety disorder GAD is characterized by dysfunctional connectivity in amygdala-based circuits at rest in adolescents, consistent with adults. However, neural mechanisms underlying a broad spectrum of often-comorbid anxiety disorders in children remains unclear and understudied. The current study examines amygdala functional connectivity at rest in children and adolescents across comorbid anxiety disorders ADs including youth with primary diagnoses of GAD and social phobia SP.

ResultsCompared with healthy controls HCs, AD youth exhibited hyperconnectivity between the right amygdala and the insula and hypoconnectivity between the left amygdala and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex vmPFC and posterior cingulate cortex PCC. Within the AD group, connectivity was not correlated with anxiety severity and only the amygdala-PCC connectivity was positively correlated with age.

ConclusionsOur findings indicate that youth with comorbid ADs demonstrate aberrant connectivity in the anterior limbic network ALN as well as the PCC at rest. This extends upon previous work suggesting alterations in amygdala circuits underlying fear learning, emotion regulation, and the processing of interoceptive states. Presence of these findings within this young, comorbid sample points to underlying common mechanisms across ADs and illuminates future targets for prevention and intervention in childhood.

KeywordsChildren Adolescent Anxiety Amygdala Connectivity Resting state fMRI AbbreviationsGADgeneralized anxiety disorder

ADanxiety disorder

SPsocial phobia

HChealthy control

vmPFCventromedial prefrontal cortex

PCCposterior cingulate cortex

ALNanterior limbic network

SADseparation anxiety disorder

CBTcognitive behavioral therapy

mPFCmedial prefrontal cortex

ACCanterior cingulate cortex

vlPFCventrolateral prefrontal cortex

dlPFCdorsolateral prefrontal cortex

PARSPediatric Anxiety Rating Scale

rs-fMRIresting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging

iFCintrinsic functional connectivity


AALautomated anatomical labeling

DMNdefault mode network

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s13587-014-0015-4 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Lisa L Hamm - Rachel H Jacobs - Meghan W Johnson - Daniel A Fitzgerald - Kate D Fitzgerald - Scott A Langenecker - Chr

Source: https://link.springer.com/

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