Parental education predicts corticostriatal functionality in adulthood.
Socioeconomic disadvantage experienced in early development predicts ill health in adulthood. However, the neurobiological pathways linking early disadvantage to adult health remain unclear. Lower parental education-a presumptive indicator of early socioeconomic disadvantage-predicts health-impairing adult behaviors, including tobacco and alcohol dependencies. These behaviors depend, in part, on the functionality of corticostriatal brain systems that 1) show developmental plasticity and early vulnerability, 2) process reward-related information, and 3) regulate impulsive decisions and actions. Hence, corticostriatal functionality in adulthood may covary directly with indicators of early socioeconomic disadvantage, particularly lower parental education. Here, we tested the covariation between parental education and corticostriatal activation and connectivity in 76 adults without confounding clinical syndromes. Corticostriatal activation and connectivity were assessed during the processing of stimuli signaling monetary gains (positive feedback [PF]) and losses (negative feedback). After accounting for participants' own education and other explanatory factors, lower parental education predicted reduced activation in anterior cingulate and dorsomedial prefrontal cortices during PF, along with reduced connectivity between these cortices and orbitofrontal and striatal areas implicated in reward processing and impulse regulation. In speculation, adult alterations in corticostriatal functionality may represent facets of a neurobiological endophenotype linked to socioeconomic conditions of early development.
Gianaros, PJ; Manuck, SB; Sheu, LK; Kuan, DCH; Votruba-Drzal, E; Craig, AE; Hariri, AR
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