PLoS One 2019 9;14(5):e0216338. Epub 2019 May 9.
Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America.
This study sought to examine the interactive relations of socioeconomic status and race to corticolimbic regions that may play a key role in translating stress to the poor health outcomes overrepresented among those of lower socioeconomic status and African American race. Participants were 200 community-dwelling, self-identified African American and White adults from the Healthy Aging in Neighborhoods of Diversity across the Life Span SCAN study. Brain volumes were derived using T1-weighted MP-RAGE images. Socioeconomic status by race interactions were observed for right medial prefrontal cortex (B = .26, p = .014), left medial prefrontal cortex (B = .26, p = .017), left orbital prefrontal cortex (B = .22, p = .037), and left anterior cingulate cortex (B = .27, p = .018), wherein higher socioeconomic status Whites had greater volumes than all other groups. Additionally, higher versus lower socioeconomic status persons had greater right and left hippocampal (B = -.15, p = .030; B = -.19, p = .004, respectively) and amygdalar (B = -.17, p = .015; B = -.21; p = .002, respectively) volumes. Whites had greater right and left hippocampal (B = -.17, p = .012; B = -.20, p = .003, respectively), right orbital prefrontal cortex (B = -.34, p < 0.001), and right anterior cingulate cortex (B = -.18, p = 0.011) volumes than African Americans. Among many factors, the higher levels of lifetime chronic stress associated with lower socioeconomic status and African American race may adversely affect corticolimbic circuitry. These relations may help explain race- and socioeconomic status-related disparities in adverse health outcomes.