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PLoS One. 2013 Aug 20;8(8):e72375. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0072375. eCollection 2013.

White matter deficits in psychopathic offenders and correlation with factor structure.

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1
Department of Experimental Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Psychopathic offenders show a persistent pattern of emotional unresponsivity to the often horrendous crimes they perpetrate. Recent studies have related psychopathy to alterations in white matter. Therefore, diffusion tensor imaging followed by tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) analysis in 11 psychopathic offenders matched to 11 healthy controls was completed. Fractional anisotropy was calculated within each voxel and comparisons were made between groups using a permutation test. Any clusters of white matter voxels different between groups were submitted to probabilistic tractography. Significant differences in fractional anisotropy were found between psychopathic offenders and healthy controls in three main white matter clusters. These three clusters represented two major networks: an amygdalo-prefrontal network, and a striato-thalamo-frontal network. The interpersonal/affective component of the PCL-R correlated with white matter deficits in the orbitofrontal cortex and frontal pole whereas the antisocial component correlated with deficits in the striato-thalamo-frontal network. In addition to replicating earlier work concerning disruption of an amygdala-prefrontal network, we show for the first time that white matter integrity in a striato-thalamo-frontal network is disrupted in psychopathic offenders. The novelty of our findings lies in the two dissociable white matter networks that map directly onto the two major factors of psychopathy.

PMID:
23977291
PMCID:
PMC3748110
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0072375
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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