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White Matter Microstructure in Youths With Conduct Disorder: Effects of Sex and Variation in Callous Traits

Rogers, J. C., Gonzalez-Madruga, K., Kohls, G., Baker, R. H., Clanton, R., Pauli, R., Birch, P., Chowdhury, A., Kirchner, M., Andersson, J., Smaragdi, A., Puzzo, I. ORCID: 0000-0002-4480-5519, Baumann, S., Raschle, N. M., Fehlbaum, L. V., Menks, W. M., Steppan, M., Stadler, C., Konrad, K., Freitag, C. M., Fairchild, G. and De Brito, S. A. (2019). White Matter Microstructure in Youths With Conduct Disorder: Effects of Sex and Variation in Callous Traits. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2019.02.019

Abstract

Objective
Studies using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to investigate white matter (WM) microstructure in youths with conduct disorder (CD) have reported disparate findings. We investigated WM alterations in a large sample of youths with CD, and examined the influence of sex and callous-unemotional (CU) traits.

Method
DTI-data were acquired from 124 youths with CD (59 female youth) and 174 typically-developing (TD) youths (103 female youth) aged 9-18 years. Tract-based spatial statistics tested for effects of diagnosis and sex-by-diagnosis interactions. Associations with CD symptoms, CU traits, a task measuring impulsivity, and the impact of comorbidity and age- and puberty-related effects were examined.

Results
Youths with CD exhibited higher axial-diffusivity in the corpus callosum and lower radial-diffusivity and mean-diffusivity in the anterior thalamic radiation relative to TD youths. Female and male youth with CD exhibited opposite changes within the internal capsule, fornix, posterior thalamic radiation and uncinate fasciculus. Within the CD group, CD symptoms and callous traits exerted opposing influences on corpus callosum axial-diffusivity, with callous traits identified as the unique clinical feature predicting higher axial-diffusivity and lower radial-diffusivity within the corpus callosum and anterior thalamic radiation, respectively. In an exploratory analysis, corpus callosum axial-diffusivity partially mediated the association between callous traits and impulsive responses to emotional faces. Results were not influenced by symptoms of comorbid disorders and no age- or puberty-related interactions were observed.

Conclusion
WM alterations within the corpus callosum represent a reliable neuroimaging marker of CD. Sex and callous traits are important factors to consider when examining WM in CD.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: conduct disorder, callous-unemotional traits, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), sex differences, FemNAT-CD
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/22096
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