Publications by authors named "Nynke A Groenewold"

36 Publications

Cortical and subcortical brain structure in generalized anxiety disorder: findings from 28 research sites in the ENIGMA-Anxiety Working Group.

Transl Psychiatry 2021 10 1;11(1):502. Epub 2021 Oct 1.

Center Of Excellence On Mood Disorders, Louis A. Faillace, MD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX, USA.

The goal of this study was to compare brain structure between individuals with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and healthy controls. Previous studies have generated inconsistent findings, possibly due to small sample sizes, or clinical/analytic heterogeneity. To address these concerns, we combined data from 28 research sites worldwide through the ENIGMA-Anxiety Working Group, using a single, pre-registered mega-analysis. Structural magnetic resonance imaging data from children and adults (5-90 years) were processed using FreeSurfer. The main analysis included the regional and vertex-wise cortical thickness, cortical surface area, and subcortical volume as dependent variables, and GAD, age, age-squared, sex, and their interactions as independent variables. Nuisance variables included IQ, years of education, medication use, comorbidities, and global brain measures. The main analysis (1020 individuals with GAD and 2999 healthy controls) included random slopes per site and random intercepts per scanner. A secondary analysis (1112 individuals with GAD and 3282 healthy controls) included fixed slopes and random intercepts per scanner with the same variables. The main analysis showed no effect of GAD on brain structure, nor interactions involving GAD, age, or sex. The secondary analysis showed increased volume in the right ventral diencephalon in male individuals with GAD compared to male healthy controls, whereas female individuals with GAD did not differ from female healthy controls. This mega-analysis combining worldwide data showed that differences in brain structure related to GAD are small, possibly reflecting heterogeneity or those structural alterations are not a major component of its pathophysiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41398-021-01622-1DOI Listing
October 2021

ENIGMA-Sleep: Challenges, opportunities, and the road map.

J Sleep Res 2021 Apr 28:e13347. Epub 2021 Apr 28.

Department of Sleep and Cognition, Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (NIN), an Institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Neuroimaging and genetics studies have advanced our understanding of the neurobiology of sleep and its disorders. However, individual studies usually have limitations to identifying consistent and reproducible effects, including modest sample sizes, heterogeneous clinical characteristics and varied methodologies. These issues call for a large-scale multi-centre effort in sleep research, in order to increase the number of samples, and harmonize the methods of data collection, preprocessing and analysis using pre-registered well-established protocols. The Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis (ENIGMA) consortium provides a powerful collaborative framework for combining datasets across individual sites. Recently, we have launched the ENIGMA-Sleep working group with the collaboration of several institutes from 15 countries to perform large-scale worldwide neuroimaging and genetics studies for better understanding the neurobiology of impaired sleep quality in population-based healthy individuals, the neural consequences of sleep deprivation, pathophysiology of sleep disorders, as well as neural correlates of sleep disturbances across various neuropsychiatric disorders. In this introductory review, we describe the details of our currently available datasets and our ongoing projects in the ENIGMA-Sleep group, and discuss both the potential challenges and opportunities of a collaborative initiative in sleep medicine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jsr.13347DOI Listing
April 2021

1q21.1 distal copy number variants are associated with cerebral and cognitive alterations in humans.

Transl Psychiatry 2021 03 22;11(1):182. Epub 2021 Mar 22.

Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, London, United Kingdom.

Low-frequency 1q21.1 distal deletion and duplication copy number variant (CNV) carriers are predisposed to multiple neurodevelopmental disorders, including schizophrenia, autism and intellectual disability. Human carriers display a high prevalence of micro- and macrocephaly in deletion and duplication carriers, respectively. The underlying brain structural diversity remains largely unknown. We systematically called CNVs in 38 cohorts from the large-scale ENIGMA-CNV collaboration and the UK Biobank and identified 28 1q21.1 distal deletion and 22 duplication carriers and 37,088 non-carriers (48% male) derived from 15 distinct magnetic resonance imaging scanner sites. With standardized methods, we compared subcortical and cortical brain measures (all) and cognitive performance (UK Biobank only) between carrier groups also testing for mediation of brain structure on cognition. We identified positive dosage effects of copy number on intracranial volume (ICV) and total cortical surface area, with the largest effects in frontal and cingulate cortices, and negative dosage effects on caudate and hippocampal volumes. The carriers displayed distinct cognitive deficit profiles in cognitive tasks from the UK Biobank with intermediate decreases in duplication carriers and somewhat larger in deletion carriers-the latter potentially mediated by ICV or cortical surface area. These results shed light on pathobiological mechanisms of neurodevelopmental disorders, by demonstrating gene dose effect on specific brain structures and effect on cognitive function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41398-021-01213-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7985307PMC
March 2021

Cortical thickness across the lifespan: Data from 17,075 healthy individuals aged 3-90 years.

Hum Brain Mapp 2021 Feb 17. Epub 2021 Feb 17.

Laboratory of Psychiatric Neuroimaging, Departamento e Instituto de Psiquiatria, Hospital das Clinicas HCFMUSP, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

Delineating the association of age and cortical thickness in healthy individuals is critical given the association of cortical thickness with cognition and behavior. Previous research has shown that robust estimates of the association between age and brain morphometry require large-scale studies. In response, we used cross-sectional data from 17,075 individuals aged 3-90 years from the Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis (ENIGMA) Consortium to infer age-related changes in cortical thickness. We used fractional polynomial (FP) regression to quantify the association between age and cortical thickness, and we computed normalized growth centiles using the parametric Lambda, Mu, and Sigma method. Interindividual variability was estimated using meta-analysis and one-way analysis of variance. For most regions, their highest cortical thickness value was observed in childhood. Age and cortical thickness showed a negative association; the slope was steeper up to the third decade of life and more gradual thereafter; notable exceptions to this general pattern were entorhinal, temporopolar, and anterior cingulate cortices. Interindividual variability was largest in temporal and frontal regions across the lifespan. Age and its FP combinations explained up to 59% variance in cortical thickness. These results may form the basis of further investigation on normative deviation in cortical thickness and its significance for behavioral and cognitive outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25364DOI Listing
February 2021

Subcortical volumes across the lifespan: Data from 18,605 healthy individuals aged 3-90 years.

Hum Brain Mapp 2021 Feb 11. Epub 2021 Feb 11.

Department of Psychology, Center for Brain Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

Age has a major effect on brain volume. However, the normative studies available are constrained by small sample sizes, restricted age coverage and significant methodological variability. These limitations introduce inconsistencies and may obscure or distort the lifespan trajectories of brain morphometry. In response, we capitalized on the resources of the Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis (ENIGMA) Consortium to examine age-related trajectories inferred from cross-sectional measures of the ventricles, the basal ganglia (caudate, putamen, pallidum, and nucleus accumbens), the thalamus, hippocampus and amygdala using magnetic resonance imaging data obtained from 18,605 individuals aged 3-90 years. All subcortical structure volumes were at their maximum value early in life. The volume of the basal ganglia showed a monotonic negative association with age thereafter; there was no significant association between age and the volumes of the thalamus, amygdala and the hippocampus (with some degree of decline in thalamus) until the sixth decade of life after which they also showed a steep negative association with age. The lateral ventricles showed continuous enlargement throughout the lifespan. Age was positively associated with inter-individual variability in the hippocampus and amygdala and the lateral ventricles. These results were robust to potential confounders and could be used to examine the functional significance of deviations from typical age-related morphometric patterns.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25320DOI Listing
February 2021

Virtual Histology of Cortical Thickness and Shared Neurobiology in 6 Psychiatric Disorders.

JAMA Psychiatry 2021 Jan;78(1):47-63

Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, School of Mental Health and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

Importance: Large-scale neuroimaging studies have revealed group differences in cortical thickness across many psychiatric disorders. The underlying neurobiology behind these differences is not well understood.

Objective: To determine neurobiologic correlates of group differences in cortical thickness between cases and controls in 6 disorders: attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), bipolar disorder (BD), major depressive disorder (MDD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and schizophrenia.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Profiles of group differences in cortical thickness between cases and controls were generated using T1-weighted magnetic resonance images. Similarity between interregional profiles of cell-specific gene expression and those in the group differences in cortical thickness were investigated in each disorder. Next, principal component analysis was used to reveal a shared profile of group difference in thickness across the disorders. Analysis for gene coexpression, clustering, and enrichment for genes associated with these disorders were conducted. Data analysis was conducted between June and December 2019. The analysis included 145 cohorts across 6 psychiatric disorders drawn from the ENIGMA consortium. The numbers of cases and controls in each of the 6 disorders were as follows: ADHD: 1814 and 1602; ASD: 1748 and 1770; BD: 1547 and 3405; MDD: 2658 and 3572; OCD: 2266 and 2007; and schizophrenia: 2688 and 3244.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Interregional profiles of group difference in cortical thickness between cases and controls.

Results: A total of 12 721 cases and 15 600 controls, ranging from ages 2 to 89 years, were included in this study. Interregional profiles of group differences in cortical thickness for each of the 6 psychiatric disorders were associated with profiles of gene expression specific to pyramidal (CA1) cells, astrocytes (except for BD), and microglia (except for OCD); collectively, gene-expression profiles of the 3 cell types explain between 25% and 54% of variance in interregional profiles of group differences in cortical thickness. Principal component analysis revealed a shared profile of difference in cortical thickness across the 6 disorders (48% variance explained); interregional profile of this principal component 1 was associated with that of the pyramidal-cell gene expression (explaining 56% of interregional variation). Coexpression analyses of these genes revealed 2 clusters: (1) a prenatal cluster enriched with genes involved in neurodevelopmental (axon guidance) processes and (2) a postnatal cluster enriched with genes involved in synaptic activity and plasticity-related processes. These clusters were enriched with genes associated with all 6 psychiatric disorders.

Conclusions And Relevance: In this study, shared neurobiologic processes were associated with differences in cortical thickness across multiple psychiatric disorders. These processes implicate a common role of prenatal development and postnatal functioning of the cerebral cortex in these disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.2694DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7450410PMC
January 2021

ENIGMA-anxiety working group: Rationale for and organization of large-scale neuroimaging studies of anxiety disorders.

Hum Brain Mapp 2020 Jul 3. Epub 2020 Jul 3.

Department of Psychiatry & Mental Health, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

Anxiety disorders are highly prevalent and disabling but seem particularly tractable to investigation with translational neuroscience methodologies. Neuroimaging has informed our understanding of the neurobiology of anxiety disorders, but research has been limited by small sample sizes and low statistical power, as well as heterogenous imaging methodology. The ENIGMA-Anxiety Working Group has brought together researchers from around the world, in a harmonized and coordinated effort to address these challenges and generate more robust and reproducible findings. This paper elaborates on the concepts and methods informing the work of the working group to date, and describes the initial approach of the four subgroups studying generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobia. At present, the ENIGMA-Anxiety database contains information about more than 100 unique samples, from 16 countries and 59 institutes. Future directions include examining additional imaging modalities, integrating imaging and genetic data, and collaborating with other ENIGMA working groups. The ENIGMA consortium creates synergy at the intersection of global mental health and clinical neuroscience, and the ENIGMA-Anxiety Working Group extends the promise of this approach to neuroimaging research on anxiety disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25100DOI Listing
July 2020

Mega-analysis methods in ENIGMA: The experience of the generalized anxiety disorder working group.

Hum Brain Mapp 2020 Jun 29. Epub 2020 Jun 29.

Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

The ENIGMA group on Generalized Anxiety Disorder (ENIGMA-Anxiety/GAD) is part of a broader effort to investigate anxiety disorders using imaging and genetic data across multiple sites worldwide. The group is actively conducting a mega-analysis of a large number of brain structural scans. In this process, the group was confronted with many methodological challenges related to study planning and implementation, between-country transfer of subject-level data, quality control of a considerable amount of imaging data, and choices related to statistical methods and efficient use of resources. This report summarizes the background information and rationale for the various methodological decisions, as well as the approach taken to implement them. The goal is to document the approach and help guide other research groups working with large brain imaging data sets as they develop their own analytic pipelines for mega-analyses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25096DOI Listing
June 2020

ENIGMA MDD: seven years of global neuroimaging studies of major depression through worldwide data sharing.

Transl Psychiatry 2020 05 29;10(1):172. Epub 2020 May 29.

Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL, USA.

A key objective in the field of translational psychiatry over the past few decades has been to identify the brain correlates of major depressive disorder (MDD). Identifying measurable indicators of brain processes associated with MDD could facilitate the detection of individuals at risk, and the development of novel treatments, the monitoring of treatment effects, and predicting who might benefit most from treatments that target specific brain mechanisms. However, despite intensive neuroimaging research towards this effort, underpowered studies and a lack of reproducible findings have hindered progress. Here, we discuss the work of the ENIGMA Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) Consortium, which was established to address issues of poor replication, unreliable results, and overestimation of effect sizes in previous studies. The ENIGMA MDD Consortium currently includes data from 45 MDD study cohorts from 14 countries across six continents. The primary aim of ENIGMA MDD is to identify structural and functional brain alterations associated with MDD that can be reliably detected and replicated across cohorts worldwide. A secondary goal is to investigate how demographic, genetic, clinical, psychological, and environmental factors affect these associations. In this review, we summarize findings of the ENIGMA MDD disease working group to date and discuss future directions. We also highlight the challenges and benefits of large-scale data sharing for mental health research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41398-020-0842-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7260219PMC
May 2020

Brain structural abnormalities in obesity: relation to age, genetic risk, and common psychiatric disorders : Evidence through univariate and multivariate mega-analysis including 6420 participants from the ENIGMA MDD working group.

Mol Psychiatry 2020 May 28. Epub 2020 May 28.

Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX, USA.

Emerging evidence suggests that obesity impacts brain physiology at multiple levels. Here we aimed to clarify the relationship between obesity and brain structure using structural MRI (n = 6420) and genetic data (n = 3907) from the ENIGMA Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) working group. Obesity (BMI > 30) was significantly associated with cortical and subcortical abnormalities in both mass-univariate and multivariate pattern recognition analyses independent of MDD diagnosis. The most pronounced effects were found for associations between obesity and lower temporo-frontal cortical thickness (maximum Cohen´s d (left fusiform gyrus) = -0.33). The observed regional distribution and effect size of cortical thickness reductions in obesity revealed considerable similarities with corresponding patterns of lower cortical thickness in previously published studies of neuropsychiatric disorders. A higher polygenic risk score for obesity significantly correlated with lower occipital surface area. In addition, a significant age-by-obesity interaction on cortical thickness emerged driven by lower thickness in older participants. Our findings suggest a neurobiological interaction between obesity and brain structure under physiological and pathological brain conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-020-0774-9DOI Listing
May 2020

Brain aging in major depressive disorder: results from the ENIGMA major depressive disorder working group.

Mol Psychiatry 2020 May 18. Epub 2020 May 18.

Department of Psychiatry, University of Münster, Münster, Germany.

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is associated with an increased risk of brain atrophy, aging-related diseases, and mortality. We examined potential advanced brain aging in adult MDD patients, and whether this process is associated with clinical characteristics in a large multicenter international dataset. We performed a mega-analysis by pooling brain measures derived from T1-weighted MRI scans from 19 samples worldwide. Healthy brain aging was estimated by predicting chronological age (18-75 years) from 7 subcortical volumes, 34 cortical thickness and 34 surface area, lateral ventricles and total intracranial volume measures separately in 952 male and 1236 female controls from the ENIGMA MDD working group. The learned model coefficients were applied to 927 male controls and 986 depressed males, and 1199 female controls and 1689 depressed females to obtain independent unbiased brain-based age predictions. The difference between predicted "brain age" and chronological age was calculated to indicate brain-predicted age difference (brain-PAD). On average, MDD patients showed a higher brain-PAD of +1.08 (SE 0.22) years (Cohen's d = 0.14, 95% CI: 0.08-0.20) compared with controls. However, this difference did not seem to be driven by specific clinical characteristics (recurrent status, remission status, antidepressant medication use, age of onset, or symptom severity). This highly powered collaborative effort showed subtle patterns of age-related structural brain abnormalities in MDD. Substantial within-group variance and overlap between groups were observed. Longitudinal studies of MDD and somatic health outcomes are needed to further assess the clinical value of these brain-PAD estimates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-020-0754-0DOI Listing
May 2020

Neuroimaging young children and associations with neurocognitive development in a South African birth cohort study.

Neuroimage 2020 10 15;219:116846. Epub 2020 Apr 15.

Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Neuroscience Institute, University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an indispensable tool for investigating brain development in young children and the neurobiological mechanisms underlying developmental risk and resilience. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest proportion of children at risk of developmental delay worldwide, yet in this region there is very limited neuroimaging research focusing on the neurobiology of such impairment. Furthermore, paediatric MRI imaging is challenging in any setting due to motion sensitivity. Although sedation and anesthesia are routinely used in clinical practice to minimise movement in young children, this may not be ethical in the context of research. Our study aimed to investigate the feasibility of paediatric multimodal MRI at age 2-3 years without sedation, and to explore the relationship between cortical structure and neurocognitive development at this understudied age in a sub-Saharan African setting. A total of 239 children from the Drakenstein Child Health Study, a large observational South African birth cohort, were recruited for neuroimaging at 2-3 years of age. Scans were conducted during natural sleep utilising locally developed techniques. T1-MEMPRAGE and T2-weighted structural imaging, resting state functional MRI, diffusion tensor imaging and magnetic resonance spectroscopy sequences were included. Child neurodevelopment was assessed using the Bayley-III Scales of Infant and Toddler Development. Following 23 pilot scans, 216 children underwent scanning and T1-weighted images were obtained from 167/216 (77%) of children (median age 34.8 months). Furthermore, we found cortical surface area and thickness within frontal regions were associated with cognitive development, and in temporal and frontal regions with language development (beta coefficient ≥0.20). Overall, we demonstrate the feasibility of carrying out a neuroimaging study of young children during natural sleep in sub-Saharan Africa. Our findings indicate that dynamic morphological changes in heteromodal association regions are associated with cognitive and language development at this young age. These proof-of-concept analyses suggest similar links between the brain and cognition as prior literature from high income countries, enhancing understanding of the interplay between cortical structure and function during brain maturation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116846DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7443699PMC
October 2020

Subcortical shape alterations in major depressive disorder: Findings from the ENIGMA major depressive disorder working group.

Hum Brain Mapp 2020 Mar 21. Epub 2020 Mar 21.

Department of Psychiatry, University Tuebingen, Germany.

Alterations in regional subcortical brain volumes have been investigated as part of the efforts of an international consortium, ENIGMA, to identify reliable neural correlates of major depressive disorder (MDD). Given that subcortical structures are comprised of distinct subfields, we sought to build significantly from prior work by precisely mapping localized MDD-related differences in subcortical regions using shape analysis. In this meta-analysis of subcortical shape from the ENIGMA-MDD working group, we compared 1,781 patients with MDD and 2,953 healthy controls (CTL) on individual measures of shape metrics (thickness and surface area) on the surface of seven bilateral subcortical structures: nucleus accumbens, amygdala, caudate, hippocampus, pallidum, putamen, and thalamus. Harmonized data processing and statistical analyses were conducted locally at each site, and findings were aggregated by meta-analysis. Relative to CTL, patients with adolescent-onset MDD (≤ 21 years) had lower thickness and surface area of the subiculum, cornu ammonis (CA) 1 of the hippocampus and basolateral amygdala (Cohen's d = -0.164 to -0.180). Relative to first-episode MDD, recurrent MDD patients had lower thickness and surface area in the CA1 of the hippocampus and the basolateral amygdala (Cohen's d = -0.173 to -0.184). Our results suggest that previously reported MDD-associated volumetric differences may be localized to specific subfields of these structures that have been shown to be sensitive to the effects of stress, with important implications for mapping treatments to patients based on specific neural targets and key clinical features.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.24988DOI Listing
March 2020

ENIGMA and global neuroscience: A decade of large-scale studies of the brain in health and disease across more than 40 countries.

Transl Psychiatry 2020 03 20;10(1):100. Epub 2020 Mar 20.

Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.

This review summarizes the last decade of work by the ENIGMA (Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta Analysis) Consortium, a global alliance of over 1400 scientists across 43 countries, studying the human brain in health and disease. Building on large-scale genetic studies that discovered the first robustly replicated genetic loci associated with brain metrics, ENIGMA has diversified into over 50 working groups (WGs), pooling worldwide data and expertise to answer fundamental questions in neuroscience, psychiatry, neurology, and genetics. Most ENIGMA WGs focus on specific psychiatric and neurological conditions, other WGs study normal variation due to sex and gender differences, or development and aging; still other WGs develop methodological pipelines and tools to facilitate harmonized analyses of "big data" (i.e., genetic and epigenetic data, multimodal MRI, and electroencephalography data). These international efforts have yielded the largest neuroimaging studies to date in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorders, epilepsy, and 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. More recent ENIGMA WGs have formed to study anxiety disorders, suicidal thoughts and behavior, sleep and insomnia, eating disorders, irritability, brain injury, antisocial personality and conduct disorder, and dissociative identity disorder. Here, we summarize the first decade of ENIGMA's activities and ongoing projects, and describe the successes and challenges encountered along the way. We highlight the advantages of collaborative large-scale coordinated data analyses for testing reproducibility and robustness of findings, offering the opportunity to identify brain systems involved in clinical syndromes across diverse samples and associated genetic, environmental, demographic, cognitive, and psychosocial factors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41398-020-0705-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7083923PMC
March 2020

The genetic architecture of the human cerebral cortex.

Science 2020 03;367(6484)

The cerebral cortex underlies our complex cognitive capabilities, yet little is known about the specific genetic loci that influence human cortical structure. To identify genetic variants that affect cortical structure, we conducted a genome-wide association meta-analysis of brain magnetic resonance imaging data from 51,665 individuals. We analyzed the surface area and average thickness of the whole cortex and 34 regions with known functional specializations. We identified 199 significant loci and found significant enrichment for loci influencing total surface area within regulatory elements that are active during prenatal cortical development, supporting the radial unit hypothesis. Loci that affect regional surface area cluster near genes in Wnt signaling pathways, which influence progenitor expansion and areal identity. Variation in cortical structure is genetically correlated with cognitive function, Parkinson's disease, insomnia, depression, neuroticism, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aay6690DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7295264PMC
March 2020

Association of Copy Number Variation of the 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 Region With Cortical and Subcortical Morphology and Cognition.

JAMA Psychiatry 2020 04;77(4):420-430

Department of Biological Psychology and Netherlands Twin Register, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Importance: Recurrent microdeletions and duplications in the genomic region 15q11.2 between breakpoints 1 (BP1) and 2 (BP2) are associated with neurodevelopmental disorders. These structural variants are present in 0.5% to 1.0% of the population, making 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 the site of the most prevalent known pathogenic copy number variation (CNV). It is unknown to what extent this CNV influences brain structure and affects cognitive abilities.

Objective: To determine the association of the 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 deletion and duplication CNVs with cortical and subcortical brain morphology and cognitive task performance.

Design, Setting, And Participants: In this genetic association study, T1-weighted brain magnetic resonance imaging were combined with genetic data from the ENIGMA-CNV consortium and the UK Biobank, with a replication cohort from Iceland. In total, 203 deletion carriers, 45 247 noncarriers, and 306 duplication carriers were included. Data were collected from August 2015 to April 2019, and data were analyzed from September 2018 to September 2019.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The associations of the CNV with global and regional measures of surface area and cortical thickness as well as subcortical volumes were investigated, correcting for age, age2, sex, scanner, and intracranial volume. Additionally, measures of cognitive ability were analyzed in the full UK Biobank cohort.

Results: Of 45 756 included individuals, the mean (SD) age was 55.8 (18.3) years, and 23 754 (51.9%) were female. Compared with noncarriers, deletion carriers had a lower surface area (Cohen d = -0.41; SE, 0.08; P = 4.9 × 10-8), thicker cortex (Cohen d = 0.36; SE, 0.07; P = 1.3 × 10-7), and a smaller nucleus accumbens (Cohen d = -0.27; SE, 0.07; P = 7.3 × 10-5). There was also a significant negative dose response on cortical thickness (β = -0.24; SE, 0.05; P = 6.8 × 10-7). Regional cortical analyses showed a localization of the effects to the frontal, cingulate, and parietal lobes. Further, cognitive ability was lower for deletion carriers compared with noncarriers on 5 of 7 tasks.

Conclusions And Relevance: These findings, from the largest CNV neuroimaging study to date, provide evidence that 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 structural variation is associated with brain morphology and cognition, with deletion carriers being particularly affected. The pattern of results fits with known molecular functions of genes in the 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 region and suggests involvement of these genes in neuronal plasticity. These neurobiological effects likely contribute to the association of this CNV with neurodevelopmental disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.3779DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6822096PMC
April 2020

Genetic architecture of subcortical brain structures in 38,851 individuals.

Nat Genet 2019 11 21;51(11):1624-1636. Epub 2019 Oct 21.

Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA.

Subcortical brain structures are integral to motion, consciousness, emotions and learning. We identified common genetic variation related to the volumes of the nucleus accumbens, amygdala, brainstem, caudate nucleus, globus pallidus, putamen and thalamus, using genome-wide association analyses in almost 40,000 individuals from CHARGE, ENIGMA and UK Biobank. We show that variability in subcortical volumes is heritable, and identify 48 significantly associated loci (40 novel at the time of analysis). Annotation of these loci by utilizing gene expression, methylation and neuropathological data identified 199 genes putatively implicated in neurodevelopment, synaptic signaling, axonal transport, apoptosis, inflammation/infection and susceptibility to neurological disorders. This set of genes is significantly enriched for Drosophila orthologs associated with neurodevelopmental phenotypes, suggesting evolutionarily conserved mechanisms. Our findings uncover novel biology and potential drug targets underlying brain development and disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-019-0511-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7055269PMC
November 2019

White matter disturbances in major depressive disorder: a coordinated analysis across 20 international cohorts in the ENIGMA MDD working group.

Mol Psychiatry 2020 07 30;25(7):1511-1525. Epub 2019 Aug 30.

Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Alterations in white matter (WM) microstructure have been implicated in the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder (MDD). However, previous findings have been inconsistent, partially due to low statistical power and the heterogeneity of depression. In the largest multi-site study to date, we examined WM anisotropy and diffusivity in 1305 MDD patients and 1602 healthy controls (age range 12-88 years) from 20 samples worldwide, which included both adults and adolescents, within the MDD Working Group of the Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis (ENIGMA) consortium. Processing of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data and statistical analyses were harmonized across sites and effects were meta-analyzed across studies. We observed subtle, but widespread, lower fractional anisotropy (FA) in adult MDD patients compared with controls in 16 out of 25 WM tracts of interest (Cohen's d between 0.12 and 0.26). The largest differences were observed in the corpus callosum and corona radiata. Widespread higher radial diffusivity (RD) was also observed (all Cohen's d between 0.12 and 0.18). Findings appeared to be driven by patients with recurrent MDD and an adult age of onset of depression. White matter microstructural differences in a smaller sample of adolescent MDD patients and controls did not survive correction for multiple testing. In this coordinated and harmonized multisite DTI study, we showed subtle, but widespread differences in WM microstructure in adult MDD, which may suggest structural disconnectivity in MDD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-019-0477-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7055351PMC
July 2020

No Alterations of Brain Structural Asymmetry in Major Depressive Disorder: An ENIGMA Consortium Analysis.

Am J Psychiatry 2019 12 29;176(12):1039-1049. Epub 2019 Jul 29.

The Department of Language and Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, the Netherlands (de Kovel, Francks); Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Melbourne, Australia (Davey); the Department of Psychiatry, Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam (Veltman); the Imaging Genetics Center, Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute, Keck School of Medicine of USC, University of Southern California, Marina del Rey (Jahanshad, Thompson); the Laboratory of Affective, Cognitive, and Translational Neuroscience, Scientific Research Institute of Physiology and Basic Medicine, Novosibirsk, Russian Federation (Aftanas, Brack, Osipov); the Department of Neuroscience, Neuroimaging Center, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands (Aleman); the Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Melbourne (Baune); the Institute for Diagnostic Radiology and Neuroradiology, University Medicine Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany (Bülow); the Laboratory of Psychiatric Neuroimaging (LIM-21), Departamento e Instituto de Psiquiatria, Hospital das Clinicas HCFMUSP, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil (Busatto Filho, Rosa); the Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin (Carballedo, Frodl); the Department of Psychiatry and the Weill Institute for Neurosciences, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco (Connolly, Ho, Yang); the Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis (Cullen, Mueller, Ubani, Schreiner); the Department of Psychiatry, University of Münster, Münster, Germany (Dannlowski, Dohm, Grotegerd, Leehr, Sindermann, Winter, Zaremba); the Department of Psychology, School of Arts and Social Sciences, City, University of London, London (Dima); the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany (Erwin-Grabner; Goya-Maldonado, Schnell, Singh); the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, Magdeburg, Germany (Frodl); the Centre for Affective Disorders, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience, King's College London (Fu); the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada (Hall); the Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn. (Alexander-Bloch, Glahn); the Psychopharmacology Research Unit, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Oxford, U.K. (Godlewska); the Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. (Gotlib, Ho); the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Medicine Greifswald (Grabe, Wittfeld); the Department of Psychiatry, Interdisciplinary Center Psychopathology and Emotion regulation, University Medical Center Groningen (Groenewold); the Section for Experimental Psychopathology and Neuroimaging, Department of General Psychiatry, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany (Gruber, Krämer, Simulionyte); the Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, and Melbourne Health, Melbourne (Harrison); the Youth Mental Health Team, Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia (Hatton, Hickie, Lagopoulos); the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Philipps University Marburg, Marburg, Germany (Kircher, Krug, Nenadic, Yüksel); the Department of Neurology, University of Magdeburg, Magdeburg (Li); the Departments of Psychiatry and Paediatrics, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada (MacMaster, McLellan); the Department of Psychiatry, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary (MacQueen); the Division of Psychiatry, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh (Harris, McIntosh, Papmeyer, Whalley); Psychiatric Genetics, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Australia (Medland); the Department. of Psychiatry, Institute of Biomedical Research Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain (Portella); the Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, Amsterdam (Reneman, Schrantee); the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford (Sacchet); West Region and Research Division, Institute of Mental Health, Singapore (Sim); Medical Research Council Unit on Risk and Resilience in Mental Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa (Groenewold, Stein); Brain Function and Dysfunction, Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum, Leiden, the Netherlands (Van der Wee); the Department of Psychiatry, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden (Van der Werff); the Division of Mind and Brain Research, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy CCM, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Berlin (Veer, H. Walter); the Institute of Information and Communication Technologies (Instituto ITACA), Universitat Politècnica de València, València, Spain (Gilabert); the Institute for Community Medicine, University Medicine Greifswald, Greifswald (Völzke); the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany (M. Walter); the Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (Schreiner); the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Site Rostock/Greifswald (Grabe, Wittfeld); the Department of Neuroscience, Novosibirsk State University, Novosibirsk (Aftanas); the Department of Psychology, University of Groningen, Groningen (Aleman); the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Applied Neurosciences, University of São Paulo, São Paulo (Busatto Filho, Rosa); the Department of Biomedical Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee (Connolly); the Department of Neuroimaging, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience, King's College London (Dima); the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behavior, Radboud University Nijmegen (Francks); the School of Psychology, University of East London, London (Fu); the Sunshine Coast Mind and Neuroscience Thompson Institute, Queensland, Australia (Lagopoulos); Strategic Clinical Network for Addictions and Mental Health, Alberta, Canada (MacMaster); the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh (McIntosh); the Rehabilitation Services and Care Unit, Swiss Paraplegic Research, Nottwil, Switzerland (Papmeyer); CIBERSAM, Madrid (Portella); the Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne (Davey, Schmaal); the Spinoza Center for Neuroimaging, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam (Schrantee); Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore; Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (Sim); the School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston (Ubani); the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, Leiden (Van der Werff); the German Center for Cardiovascular Research, partner site Greifswald, Greifswald (Völzke).

Objective: Asymmetry is a subtle but pervasive aspect of the human brain, and it may be altered in several psychiatric conditions. MRI studies have shown subtle differences of brain anatomy between people with major depressive disorder and healthy control subjects, but few studies have specifically examined brain anatomical asymmetry in relation to this disorder, and results from those studies have remained inconclusive. At the functional level, some electroencephalography studies have indicated left fronto-cortical hypoactivity and right parietal hypoactivity in depressive disorders, so aspects of lateralized anatomy may also be affected. The authors used pooled individual-level data from data sets collected around the world to investigate differences in laterality in measures of cortical thickness, cortical surface area, and subcortical volume between individuals with major depression and healthy control subjects.

Methods: The authors investigated differences in the laterality of thickness and surface area measures of 34 cerebral cortical regions in 2,256 individuals with major depression and 3,504 control subjects from 31 separate data sets, and they investigated volume asymmetries of eight subcortical structures in 2,540 individuals with major depression and 4,230 control subjects from 32 data sets. T-weighted MRI data were processed with a single protocol using FreeSurfer and the Desikan-Killiany atlas. The large sample size provided 80% power to detect effects of the order of Cohen's d=0.1.

Results: The largest effect size (Cohen's d) of major depression diagnosis was 0.085 for the thickness asymmetry of the superior temporal cortex, which was not significant after adjustment for multiple testing. Asymmetry measures were not significantly associated with medication use, acute compared with remitted status, first episode compared with recurrent status, or age at onset.

Conclusions: Altered brain macro-anatomical asymmetry may be of little relevance to major depression etiology in most cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2019.18101144DOI Listing
December 2019

Interactive impact of childhood maltreatment, depression, and age on cortical brain structure: mega-analytic findings from a large multi-site cohort.

Psychol Med 2020 04 14;50(6):1020-1031. Epub 2019 May 14.

Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Philipps-University Marburg, Germany.

Background: Childhood maltreatment (CM) plays an important role in the development of major depressive disorder (MDD). The aim of this study was to examine whether CM severity and type are associated with MDD-related brain alterations, and how they interact with sex and age.

Methods: Within the ENIGMA-MDD network, severity and subtypes of CM using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire were assessed and structural magnetic resonance imaging data from patients with MDD and healthy controls were analyzed in a mega-analysis comprising a total of 3872 participants aged between 13 and 89 years. Cortical thickness and surface area were extracted at each site using FreeSurfer.

Results: CM severity was associated with reduced cortical thickness in the banks of the superior temporal sulcus and supramarginal gyrus as well as with reduced surface area of the middle temporal lobe. Participants reporting both childhood neglect and abuse had a lower cortical thickness in the inferior parietal lobe, middle temporal lobe, and precuneus compared to participants not exposed to CM. In males only, regardless of diagnosis, CM severity was associated with higher cortical thickness of the rostral anterior cingulate cortex. Finally, a significant interaction between CM and age in predicting thickness was seen across several prefrontal, temporal, and temporo-parietal regions.

Conclusions: Severity and type of CM may impact cortical thickness and surface area. Importantly, CM may influence age-dependent brain maturation, particularly in regions related to the default mode network, perception, and theory of mind.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S003329171900093XDOI Listing
April 2020

How to assess negative affective reactivity to daily life stress in depressed and nondepressed individuals?

Psychiatry Res 2019 09 16;279:259-266. Epub 2019 Apr 16.

University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Department of Psychiatry, Interdisciplinary Center Psychopathology and Emotion regulation (ICPE), CC72, P.O. Box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen, The Netherlands; Center for Integrative Psychiatry, Lentis, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Intensive longitudinal data studies on affective reactivity to daily life stress have used various dimensions of stress. Based on an evidence-based conceptual model of stress, the current study included unpredictability, uncontrollability and unpleasantness, and examined whether and how these predict affective reactivity in depressed and non-depressed individuals in daily life. Participants (27 depressed, 27 non-depressed) completed a diary 3 times a day for a period of 30 days. Multilevel analyses were performed to investigate unpleasantness, uncontrollability and unpredictability of daily events as univariate predictors of negative affect (NA). Multivariable models were composed to determine the optimal combination of stress dimensions, and whether the strength of the predictions differed between the depressed and non-depressed groups. Unpleasantness, uncontrollability and unpredictability each predicted subsequent NA independently. However, a combination of all three dimensions, together with an interaction between unpleasantness and uncontrollability, predicted subsequent NA best. The stress dimensions predicted NA more strongly in the depressed than the non-depressed group. This was mostly accounted for by an increased NA response to unpleasantness. Thus, unpleasantness seems to be the most important aspect of daily stress to distinguish depressed from non-depressed individuals. Nevertheless, for a comprehensive assessment of affective reactivity, a multidimensional model of event stressfulness is recommended.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2019.03.040DOI Listing
September 2019

Correction: Dose response of the 16p11.2 distal copy number variant on intracranial volume and basal ganglia.

Mol Psychiatry 2020 Mar;25(3):692-695

Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, Anzio Road, 7925, Cape Town, South Africa.

Prior to and following the publication of this article the authors noted that the complete list of authors was not included in the main article and was only present in Supplementary Table 1. The author list in the original article has now been updated to include all authors, and Supplementary Table 1 has been removed. All other supplementary files have now been updated accordingly. Furthermore, in Table 1 of this Article, the replication cohort for the row Close relative in data set, n (%) was incorrect. All values have now been corrected to 0(0%). The publishers would like to apologise for this error and the inconvenience it may have caused.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-019-0358-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7608381PMC
March 2020

Concordance of genetic variation that increases risk for anxiety disorders and posttraumatic stress disorders and that influences their underlying neurocircuitry.

J Affect Disord 2019 02 13;245:885-896. Epub 2018 Nov 13.

Department of Psychiatry and MRC Unit on Risk & Resilience. University of Cape Town. Cape Town. South Africa; Groote Schuur Hospital. Cape Town. South Africa. Electronic address:

Background: There have been considerable recent advances in understanding the genetic architecture of anxiety disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as the underlying neurocircuitry of these disorders. However, there is little work on the concordance of genetic variations that increase risk for these conditions, and that influence subcortical brain structures. We undertook a genome-wide investigation of the overlap between the genetic influences from single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on volumes of subcortical brain structures and genetic risk for anxiety disorders and PTSD.

Method: We obtained summary statistics of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of anxiety disorders (N= 7016, N= 14,745), PTSD (European sample; N= 2424, N= 7113) and of subcortical brain structures (N = 13,171). SNP Effect Concordance Analysis (SECA) and Linkage Disequilibrium (LD) Score Regression were used to examine genetic pleiotropy, concordance, and genome-wide correlations respectively. SECAs conditional false discovery was used to identify specific risk variants associated with anxiety disorders or PTSD when conditioning on brain related traits.

Results: For anxiety disorders, we found evidence of significant concordance between increased anxiety risk variants and variants associated with smaller amygdala volume. Further, by conditioning on brain volume GWAS, we identified novel variants that associate with smaller brain volumes and increase risk for disorders: rs56242606 was found to increase risk for anxiety disorders, while two variants (rs6470292 and rs683250) increase risk for PTSD, when conditioning on the GWAS of putamen volume.

Limitations: Despite using the largest available GWAS summary statistics, the analyses were limited by sample size.

Conclusions: These preliminary data indicate that there is genome wide concordance between genetic risk factors for anxiety disorders and those for smaller amygdala volume, which is consistent with research that supports the involvement of the amygdala in anxiety disorders. It is notable that a genetic variant that contributes to both reduced putamen volume and PTSD plays a key role in the glutamatergic system. Further work with GWAS summary statistics from larger samples, and a more extensive look at the genetics underlying brain circuits, is needed to fully delineate the genetic architecture of these disorders and their underlying neurocircuitry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2018.11.082DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6519055PMC
February 2019

Dose response of the 16p11.2 distal copy number variant on intracranial volume and basal ganglia.

Mol Psychiatry 2020 03 3;25(3):584-602. Epub 2018 Oct 3.

Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, Anzio Road, 7925, Cape Town, South Africa.

Carriers of large recurrent copy number variants (CNVs) have a higher risk of developing neurodevelopmental disorders. The 16p11.2 distal CNV predisposes carriers to e.g., autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia. We compared subcortical brain volumes of 12 16p11.2 distal deletion and 12 duplication carriers to 6882 non-carriers from the large-scale brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging collaboration, ENIGMA-CNV. After stringent CNV calling procedures, and standardized FreeSurfer image analysis, we found negative dose-response associations with copy number on intracranial volume and on regional caudate, pallidum and putamen volumes (β = -0.71 to -1.37; P < 0.0005). In an independent sample, consistent results were obtained, with significant effects in the pallidum (β = -0.95, P = 0.0042). The two data sets combined showed significant negative dose-response for the accumbens, caudate, pallidum, putamen and ICV (P = 0.0032, 8.9 × 10, 1.7 × 10, 3.5 × 10 and 1.0 × 10, respectively). Full scale IQ was lower in both deletion and duplication carriers compared to non-carriers. This is the first brain MRI study of the impact of the 16p11.2 distal CNV, and we demonstrate a specific effect on subcortical brain structures, suggesting a neuropathological pattern underlying the neurodevelopmental syndromes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-018-0118-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7042770PMC
March 2020

The neural correlates of Childhood Trauma Questionnaire scores in adults: A meta-analysis and review of functional magnetic resonance imaging studies.

Dev Psychopathol 2018 10 11;30(4):1475-1485. Epub 2017 Dec 11.

University of Cape Town.

Childhood maltreatment, including abuse and neglect, may have sustained effects on the integrity and functioning of the brain, alter neurophysiological responsivity later in life, and predispose individuals toward psychiatric conditions involving socioaffective disturbances. This meta-analysis aims to quantify associations between self-reported childhood maltreatment and brain function in response to socioaffective cues in adults. Seventeen functional magnetic resonance imaging studies reporting on data from 848 individuals examined with the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire were included in a meta-analysis of whole-brain findings, or a review of region of interest findings. The spatial consistency of peak activations associated with maltreatment exposure was tested using activation likelihood estimation, using a threshold of p < .05 corrected for multiple comparisons. Adults exposed to childhood maltreatment showed significantly increased activation in the left superior frontal gyrus and left middle temporal gyrus, and decreased activation in the left superior parietal lobule and the left hippocampus. Although hyperresponsivity to socioaffective cues in the amygdala and ventral anterior cingulate cortex in correlation with maltreatment severity is a replicated finding in region of interest studies, null results are reported as well. The findings suggest that childhood maltreatment has sustained effects on brain function into adulthood, and highlight potential mechanisms for conveying vulnerability to development of psychopathology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0954579417001717DOI Listing
October 2018

Neuroimaging genomics in psychiatry-a translational approach.

Genome Med 2017 11 27;9(1):102. Epub 2017 Nov 27.

Imaging Genetics Center, Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, 90292, USA.

Neuroimaging genomics is a relatively new field focused on integrating genomic and imaging data in order to investigate the mechanisms underlying brain phenotypes and neuropsychiatric disorders. While early work in neuroimaging genomics focused on mapping the associations of candidate gene variants with neuroimaging measures in small cohorts, the lack of reproducible results inspired better-powered and unbiased large-scale approaches. Notably, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of brain imaging in thousands of individuals around the world have led to a range of promising findings. Extensions of such approaches are now addressing epigenetics, gene-gene epistasis, and gene-environment interactions, not only in brain structure, but also in brain function. Complementary developments in systems biology might facilitate the translation of findings from basic neuroscience and neuroimaging genomics to clinical practice. Here, we review recent approaches in neuroimaging genomics-we highlight the latest discoveries, discuss advantages and limitations of current approaches, and consider directions by which the field can move forward to shed light on brain disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13073-017-0496-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5704437PMC
November 2017

Resting-state fMRI and social cognition: An opportunity to connect.

Hum Psychopharmacol 2017 09 1;32(5). Epub 2017 Aug 1.

Division of Nuclear Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa.

Many psychiatric disorders are characterized by altered social cognition. The importance of social cognition has previously been recognized by the National Institute of Mental Health Research Domain Criteria project, in which it features as a core domain. Social task-based functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) currently offers the most direct insight into how the brain processes social information; however, resting-state fMRI may be just as important in understanding the biology and network nature of social processing. Resting-state fMRI allows researchers to investigate the functional relationships between brain regions in a neutral state: so-called resting functional connectivity (RFC). There is evidence that RFC is predictive of how the brain processes information during social tasks. This is important because it shifts the focus from possibly context-dependent aberrations to context-independent aberrations in functional network architecture. Rather than being analysed in isolation, the study of resting-state brain networks shows promise in linking results of task-based fMRI results, structural connectivity, molecular imaging findings, and performance measures of social cognition-which may prove crucial in furthering our understanding of the social brain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hup.2627DOI Listing
September 2017

Gray matter volume and white matter lesions in chronic kidney disease: exploring the association with depressive symptoms.

Gen Hosp Psychiatry 2016 May-Jun;40:18-24. Epub 2016 Mar 4.

University of Groningen/University Medical Center Groningen, Department of psychiatry - Interdisciplinary Center Psychopathology and Emotion regulation (ICPE), The Netherlands. Electronic address:

Objective: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is associated with structural brain damage and with a high prevalence of depression. We therefore investigated structural brain alterations in both gray and white matter in CKD patients, focusing on depression-related (frontal-subcortical) regions.

Method: This cross-sectional MRI study in 24 CKD patients and 24 age- and sex-matched controls first tested whether CKD was associated with regionally lower gray matter (GM) volumes and more severe white matter lesions (WMLs). In exploratory subanalyses, we examined whether differences were more pronounced in CKD patients with depressive symptoms.

Results: CKD patients showed lower global GM volume (P=.04) and more severe WMLs (P=.04) compared to controls. In addition, we found substantial clusters of lower GM in the bilateral orbitofrontal-cortex for CKD patients, which were however nonsignificant after proper multiple-comparison correction. In exploratory analyses for depressed CKD patients, reduced GM clusters were mainly detected within the frontal lobe. WML severity was unrelated to depression.

Conclusion: CKD was characterized by differences in brain structure. Although subthreshold, lower GM volumes were observed in depression-related brain areas and were more pronounced for depressed patients. There is a need for replication in larger and longitudinal studies to investigate whether WMLs and regional GM reductions may render CKD patients more susceptible for depression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2016.02.005DOI Listing
December 2017

The associations of depression and hypertension with brain volumes: Independent or interactive?

Neuroimage Clin 2015 28;8:79-86. Epub 2015 Mar 28.

University of Groningen, University Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry, Interdisciplinary Center Psychopathology and Emotion regulation (ICPE), Hanzeplein 1, Groningen, Groningen 9713 GZ, The Netherlands.

Independent studies on major depressive disorder (MDD) and hypertension, suggest overlapping abnormalities in brain regions associated with emotional and autonomic processing. However, the unique and interactive effects of MDD and hypertension have never been studied in a single sample. Brain volume in these areas may be an explanatory link in the comorbidity between MDD and hypertension. Voxel-based morphometry was used to test for main effects of MDD (N = 152) and hypertension (N = 82) and their interactions on gray and white matter volumes. Voxel-wise results are reported at p < .05 FWE corrected for the spatial extent of the whole brain and a-priori regions of interest (ROIs: hippocampus, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and inferior frontal gyrus (IFG)). In addition, analyses on the extracted total volumes of our ROIs were performed. Interactive effects in the mid-cingulate cortex (MCC) (p FWE = .01), cerebellum (p FWE = .01) and in the ACC total ROI volume (p = .02) were found. MDD in the presence, but not in the absence of hypertension was associated with lower volumes in the ACC and MCC, and with a trend towards larger gray matter volume in the cerebellum. No associations with white matter volumes were observed. Results suggest that the combination of MDD and hypertension has a unique effect on brain volumes in areas implicated in the regulation of emotional and autonomic functions. Brain volume in these regulatory areas may be an explanatory link in the comorbidity between hypertension and MDD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nicl.2015.03.020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4473298PMC
March 2016
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