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Brain Connect. 2019 Aug 7. doi: 10.1089/brain.2019.0688. [Epub ahead of print]

High resolution resting state functional connectivity of the extended amygdala.

Author information

1
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, 14751, Psychology, 2441 East Hartford Ave., Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States, 53201.
2
United States; cnweis@uwm.edu.
3
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, 14751, Psychology, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States; huggins@uwm.edu.
4
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, 14751, Psychology, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States; benne257@uwm.edu.
5
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, 14751, Psychology, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States; eaparisi@uwm.edu.
6
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, 14751, Psychology, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States; larsoncl@uwm.edu.

Abstract

The extended amygdala has been implicated as a critical region in the neurocircuitry underlying anxiety. The circuitry of the extended amygdala, including the central (CeA) and basolateral (BLA) nuclei of the amygdala and the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), has been well-defined in non-human animals; however, much less is known about the roles and interactions of these structures in humans given their small size. Therefore, the current study used high-resolution 7-Tesla MRI to define, compare, and contrast functional connectivity (FC) of these structures in 57 neurologically healthy young adults. In addition, FC was investigated in relation to self-reported measures of anxiety and intolerance of uncertainty, a key feature of anxiety. Results of the FC analysis of each of the nuclei largely replicated previous work. Conjunction analyses showed nuclei of the extended amygdala shared FC with hippocampal, cingulate, medial prefrontal, and subgenual cortices. Comparison of seed-to-voxel time series correlation maps demonstrated that compared to the BNST, the CeA and BLA were more strongly coupled with parahippocampal, temporal, fusiform, and occipital gyri. Relative to the CeA and BLA, the BNST was more strongly coupled with the anterior caudate and anterior cingulate cortex. Finally, greater trait anxiety and intolerance of uncertainty were related to greater FC of the extended amygdala and posterior cingulate and temporal cortices and decreased FC with the parahippocampal and insular cortices. Results of this study extend previous work to provide more clarity of the nuances of extended amygdala FC and its relationship with anxiety.

KEYWORDS:

Anxiety - other; Functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (fcMRI); Resting-state functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (R-fMRI)

PMID:
31389253
DOI:
10.1089/brain.2019.0688

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