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Neuroimage. 2018 Oct 1;179:1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.06.014. Epub 2018 Jun 6.

A common polymorphism on the oxytocin receptor gene (rs2268498) and resting-state functional connectivity of amygdala subregions - A genetic imaging study.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany.
2
Institute of Psychology and Education, Ulm University, Ulm, Germany; Key Laboratory for NeuroInformation / Center for Information in Medicine, School of Life Science and Technology, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu, China.
3
Department of Psychology, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany; Center for Economics and Neuroscience, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany.
4
Key Laboratory for NeuroInformation / Center for Information in Medicine, School of Life Science and Technology, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu, China.
5
Center for Economics and Neuroscience, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany; Life and Brain Center, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany; Clinic for Epileptology, University Clinics of Bonn, Bonn, Germany.
6
Department of Psychology, Humboldt University Berlin, Berlin, Germany. Electronic address: sebastian.markett@hu-berlin.de.

Abstract

Across species, the neuropeptide oxytocin has been associated with affiliative and social approach behavior. It has been suggested to exert its effects by modulating neural circuitry underlying anxiety, affiliative motivation, and social salience. The present study aims to investigate differences in subregional amygdala resting-state connectivity in healthy adult carriers of different genotypes of the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene polymorphism rs2268498. Previous studies have associated this polymorphic locus with social cognitive and affiliative phenotypes. The amygdala qualifies as a reasonable target due to its broad implication in emotional and social cognitive processing as well as its key role in mediating the behavioral effects of oxytocin. Whole brain seed-based functional connectivity analyses for the basolateral, centromedial and superficial amygdala revealed stronger resting-state connectivity of all amygdala subregions to the fusiform and inferior occipital gyrus in TT-carriers compared to C-allele carriers. Additional modulations were found for the centromedial amygdala which showed stronger resting-state connectivity to inferior frontal regions and the insula in C-allele carriers and to brainstem regions in TT-carriers. Our findings not only show the importance of oxytocin functioning in amygdalar neuronal signaling but also emphasize the need to investigate the amygdalar subregions individually instead of the amygdala as a whole. In summary, the present study is the first to characterize the impact of genetic variation of the OXTR gene with known functional consequences on widespread changes in a functional brain network originating from the amygdala.

KEYWORDS:

Amygdala; Basolateral; Centromedial; Functional connectivity; OXTR; Resting-state; Superficial; rs2268498

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