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J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2016 May;44(4):639-49. doi: 10.1007/s10802-015-0073-0.

Grey Matter Volumes in Children with Conduct Problems and Varying Levels of Callous-Unemotional Traits.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, London, UK.
2
School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.
3
Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, London, UK.
4
Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, London, UK. e.viding@ucl.ac.uk.
5
Department of Psychology, Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, 26 Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AP, UK. e.viding@ucl.ac.uk.

Abstract

Genetic, behavioural and functional neuroimaging studies have revealed that different vulnerabilities characterise children with conduct problems and high levels of callous-unemotional traits (CP/HCU) compared with children with conduct problems and low callous-unemotional traits (CP/LCU). We used voxel-based morphometry to study grey matter volume (GMV) in 89 male participants (aged 10-16), 60 of whom exhibited CP. The CP group was subdivided into CP/HCU (n = 29) and CP/LCU (n = 31). Whole-brain and regional GMV were compared across groups (CP vs. typically developing (TD) controls (n = 29); and CP/HCU vs. CP/LCU vs. TD). Whole-brain analyses showed reduced GMV in left middle frontal gyrus in the CP/HCU group compared with TD controls. Region-of-interest analyses showed reduced volume in bilateral orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) in the CP group as a whole compared with TD controls. Reduced volume in left OFC was found to be driven by the CP/HCU group only, with significant reductions relative to both TD controls and the CP/LCU group, and no difference between these latter two groups. Within the CP group left OFC volume was significantly predicted by CU traits, but not conduct disorder symptoms. Reduced right anterior cingulate cortex volume was also found in CP/HCU compared with TD controls. Our results support previous findings indicating that GMV differences in brain regions central to decision-making and empathy are implicated in CP. However, they extend these data to suggest that some of these differences might specifically characterise the subgroup with CP/HCU, with GMV reduction in left OFC differentiating children with CP/HCU from those with CP/LCU.

KEYWORDS:

Callous-unemotional traits; Conduct disorder; Conduct problems; Grey matter volume; Orbitofrontal cortex; Voxel-based morphometry

PMID:
26364620
PMCID:
PMC4830891
DOI:
10.1007/s10802-015-0073-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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