Subgenual Cingulum Microstructure Supports Control of Emotional Conflict
Oxford University Press (OUP)
© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is associated with specific difficulties in attentional disengagement from negatively valenced material. Diffusion MRI studies have demonstrated altered white matter microstructure in the subgenual cingulum bundle (CB) in individuals with MDD, though the functional significance of these alterations has not been examined formally. This study explored whether individual differences in selective attention to negatively valenced stimuli are related to interindividual differences in subgenual CB microstructure. Forty-six individuals (21 with remitted MDD, 25 never depressed) completed an emotional Stroop task, using happy and angry distractor faces overlaid by pleasant or unpleasant target words and a control gender-based Stroop task. CBs were reconstructed in 38 individuals using diffusion-weighted imaging and tractography, and mean fractional anisotropy (FA) computed for the subgenual, retrosplenial, and parahippocampal subdivisions. No significant correlations were found between FA and performance in the control gender-based Stroop task in any CB region. However, the degree of interference produced by angry face distractors on time to identify pleasant words (emotional conflict) correlated selectively with FA in the subgenual CB (r= -0.53;P= 0.01). Higher FA was associated with reduced interference, irrespective of a diagnosis of MDD, suggesting that subgenual CB microstructure is functionally relevant for regulating attentional bias toward negative interpersonal stimuli.
P.A.K. was funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and an Academy of Medical Sciences and Wellcome Trust Starter Grant (AJ17102004). M.M. received an EPSRC Doctoral Training Grant. This work was also supported by a Marie Curie fellowship to Marcel Meyer and received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no. 267171. D.K.J. was funded by HEFCW and received grants from the MS Society, a Wellcome Trust New Investigator Award, a Wellcome Trust Multi User Equipment Grant and Medical Research Council, and Wellcome Trust project grants. A.N.D. was supported by the Wellcome Trust PhD schemes. N.L. was funded by HEFCW. A.D.L. was funded by HEFCW. He also received grants from the ESRC, Wellcome Trust, and NISCHR. Funding to pay the Open Access publication charges for this article was provided by The Wellcome Trust.
This is the final version of the article. Available from Oxford University Press via the DOI in this record.
First published online: April 5, 2016