To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) or bipolar disorder (BD) exhibit difficulties with emotional cognition even during remission. There is evidence for aberrant emotional cognition in unaffected relatives of patients with these mood disorders, but studies are conflicting. We aimed to investigate whether emotional cognition in unaffected first-degree relatives of patients with mood disorders is characterised by heterogeneity using a data-driven approach.
Data from 94 unaffected relatives (33 of MDD patients; 61 of BD patients) and 203 healthy controls were pooled from two cohort studies. Emotional cognition was assessed with the Social Scenarios Test, Facial Expression Recognition Test and Faces Dot-Probe Test. Hierarchical cluster analysis was conducted using emotional cognition data from the 94 unaffected relatives. The resulting emotional cognition clusters and controls were compared for emotional and non-emotional cognition, demographic characteristics and functioning.
Two distinct clusters of unaffected relatives were identified: a relatively ‘emotionally preserved’ cluster (55%; 40% relatives of MDD probands) and an ‘emotionally blunted’ cluster (45%; 29% relatives of MDD probands). ‘Emotionally blunted’ relatives presented with poorer neurocognitive performance (global cognition p = 0.010), heightened subsyndromal mania symptoms (p = 0.004), lower years of education (p = 0.004) and difficulties with interpersonal functioning (p = 0.005) than controls, whereas ‘emotionally preserved’ relatives were comparable to controls on these measures.
Our findings show discrete emotional cognition profiles that occur across healthy first-degree relatives of patients with MDD and BD. These emotional cognition clusters may provide insight into emotional cognitive markers of genetically distinct subgroups of individuals at familial risk of mood disorders.
Depressive episodes experienced in unipolar (UD) and bipolar (BD) disorders are characterized by anhedonia and have been associated with abnormalities in reward processes related to reward valuation and error prediction. It remains however unclear whether these deficits are associated with familial vulnerability to mood disorders.
In a functional magnetic resonance imaging study, we evaluated differences in the expected value (EV) and reward prediction error (RPE) signals in ventral striatum (VS) and prefrontal cortex between three groups of monozygotic twins: affected twins in remission for either UD or BD (n = 53), their high-risk unaffected co-twins (n = 34), and low-risk twins with no family history of mood disorders (n = 25).
Compared to low-risk twins, affected twins showed lower EV signal bilaterally in the frontal poles and lower RPE signal bilaterally in the VS, left frontal pole and superior frontal gyrus. The high-risk group did not show a significant change in the EV or RPE signals in frontostriatal regions, yet both reward signals were consistently lower compared with low-risk twins in all regions where the affected twins showed significant reductions.
Our findings strengthen the notion that reduced valuation of expected rewards and reduced error-dependent reward learning may underpin core symptom of depression such as loss of interest in rewarding activities. The trend reduction in reward-related signals in unaffected co-twins warrants further investigation of this effect in larger samples and prospective follow-up to confirm possible association with increased familial vulnerability to mood disorders.
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is associated with reduced life expectancy in patients with affective disorders, however, whether MetS also plays a role before the onset of affective disorder is unknown. We aimed to investigate whether MetS, inflammatory markers or oxidative stress act as risk factors for affective disorders, and whether MetS is associated with increased inflammation and oxidative stress.
We conducted a high-risk study including 204 monozygotic (MZ) twins with unipolar or bipolar disorder in remission or partial remission (affected), their unaffected co-twins (high-risk) and twins with no personal or family history of affective disorder (low-risk). Metabolic Syndrome was ascertained according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) criteria. Inflammatory markers and markers of oxidative stress were analyzed from fasting blood and urine samples, respectively.
The affected and the high-risk group had a significantly higher prevalence of MetS compared to the low-risk group (20% v. 15% v. 2.5%, p = 0.0006), even after adjusting for sex, age, smoking and alcohol consumption. No differences in inflammatory and oxidative markers were seen between the three groups. Further, MetS was associated with alterations in inflammatory markers, and oxidative stress was modestly correlated with inflammation.
Metabolic syndrome is associated with low-grade inflammation and may act as a risk factor and a trait marker for affective disorders. If confirmed in longitudinal studies, this suggests the importance of early intervention and preventive approaches targeted towards unhealthy lifestyle factors that may contribute to later psychopathology.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.