Affective neural circuitry during facial emotion processing in pediatric bipolar disorder.

  • Pavuluri M
  • O'Connor M
  • Harral E
 et al. 
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Facial emotions are central to human interaction. Identifying pathophysiology
in affect processing circuitry that supports the ability to assess
facial emotions might facilitate understanding of affect regulation
in pediatric bipolar disorder.Ten euthymic, unmedicated pediatric
bipolar patients and 10 healthy control subjects matched for age,
gender, race, socioeconomic status, and IQ were scanned with functional
magnetic resonance imaging. Angry, happy, and neutral faces were
presented in 30-sec blocks, with a 20-sec rest period between blocks.
Subjects were asked to press a button when each face appeared, to
ensure that attention was maintained on-task.In bipolar patients,
in response to both angry and happy faces relative to neutral faces,
we observed reduced activation of right rostral ventrolateral prefrontal
cortex together with increased activity in right pregenual anterior
cingulate, amygdala, and paralimbic cortex. Bipolar patients also
showed reduced activation of visual areas in occipital cortex together
with greater activation in higher-order visual perceptual areas,
including superior temporal sulcus and fusiform gyrus with angry
faces and posterior parietal cortex with happy faces.Findings document
a disturbance in affective neurocircuitry in pediatric bipolar disorder.
Reduced activation in ventrolateral prefrontal cortex might reflect
diminished top-down control that leads to the observed exaggerated
activation in amygdala and paralimbic areas. Changes in occipital
areas might represent an effort to gate sensory input when affective
responses to the faces could not be successfully modulated. Disturbances
in affect processing circuitry could contribute to emotional dysregulation
and social cognitive difficulties in bipolar youth.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adolescent; Adolescent Psychology; Affect
  • diagnosis/physiopathology/psychology; Cognition D
  • diagnosis/physiopathology; Emotions; Facial Expre
  • physiology
  • physiology; Age Factors; Amygdala
  • physiology; Humans; Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • physiopathology; Bipolar Disorder
  • physiopathology; Prefrontal Cortex
  • physiopathology; Recognition (Psychology); Social
  • statistics /&/ numerical data; Male; Neural Pathw

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  • Mani N Pavuluri

  • Megan Marlow O'Connor

  • Erin Harral

  • John A Sweeney

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