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Front Aging Neurosci. 2018 Jul 16;10:209. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2018.00209. eCollection 2018.

Exploring Age-Related Changes in Resting State Functional Connectivity of the Amygdala: From Young to Middle Adulthood.

Xiao T1,2, Zhang S1, Lee LE3, Chao HH4,5, van Dyck C1,6,7, Li CR1,6,7,8.

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Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, United States.
Xiangya School of Medicine, Central South University, Changsha, China.
Department of Psychiatry, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.
Department of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, United States.
VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, CT, United States.
Department of Neuroscience, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, United States.
Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, United States.
Beijing Huilongguan Hospital, Peking University, Beijing, China.


Functional connectivities of the amygdala support emotional and cognitive processing. Life-span development of resting-state functional connectivities (rsFC) of the amygdala may underlie age-related differences in emotion regulatory mechanisms. To date, age-related changes in amygdala rsFC have been reported through adolescence but not as thoroughly for adulthood. This study investigated age-related differences in amygdala rsFC in 132 young and middle-aged adults (19-55 years). Data processing followed published routines. Overall, amygdala showed positive rsFC with the temporal, sensorimotor and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), insula and lentiform nucleus, and negative rsFC with visual, frontoparietal, and posterior cingulate cortex and caudate head. Amygdala rsFC with the cerebellum was positively correlated with age, and rsFCs with the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) and somatomotor cortex were negatively correlated with age, at voxel p < 0.001 in combination with cluster p < 0.05 FWE. These age-dependent changes in connectivity appeared to manifest to a greater extent in men than in women, although the sex difference was only evident for the cerebellum in a slope test of age regressions (p = 0.0053). Previous studies showed amygdala interaction with the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and vmPFC during emotion regulation. In region of interest analysis, amygdala rsFC with the ACC and vmPFC did not show age-related changes. These findings suggest that intrinsic connectivity of the amygdala evolved from young to middle adulthood in selective brain regions, and may inform future studies of age-related emotion regulation and maladaptive development of the amygdala circuits as an etiological marker of emotional disorders.


aging; amygdala; emotion; fMRI; limbic; rsFC

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