Neural correlates of cognitive and affective processing in maltreated youth with posttraumatic stress symptoms: does gender matter?
We investigated the relationship of gender to cognitive and affective processing in maltreated youth with posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Maltreated (N = 29, 13 females, 16 males) and nonmaltreated participants (N = 45, 26 females, 19 males) performed an emotional oddball task that involved detection of targets with fear or scrambled face distractors. Results were moderated by gender. During the executive component of this task, left precuneus/posterior middle cingulate hypoactivation to fear versus calm or scrambled face targets were seen in maltreated versus control males and may represent dysfunction and less resilience in attentional networks. Maltreated males also showed decreased activation in the inferior frontal gyrus compared to control males. No differences were found in females. Posterior cingulate activations positively correlated with posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. While viewing fear faces, maltreated females exhibited decreased activity in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex and cerebellum I-VI, whereas maltreated males exhibited increased activity in the left hippocampus, fusiform cortex, right cerebellar crus I, and visual cortex compared to their same-gender controls. Gender by maltreatment effects were not attributable to demographic, clinical, or maltreatment parameters. Maltreated girls and boys exhibited distinct patterns of neural activations during executive and affective processing, a new finding in the maltreatment literature.
Crozier, JC; Wang, L; Huettel, SA; De Bellis, MD
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