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One common denominator to the clinical phenotypes of borderline personality disorder (BPD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) is emotion regulation impairment. Although these two conditions have been extensively studied separately, it remains unclear whether their emotion regulation impairments are underpinned by shared or distinct neurobiological alterations.
We contrasted the neural correlates of negative emotion regulation across an adult sample of BPD patients (n = 19), MDD patients (n = 20), and healthy controls (HCs; n = 19). Emotion regulation was assessed using an established functional magnetic resonance imaging cognitive reappraisal paradigm. We assessed both task-related activations and modulations of interregional connectivity.
When compared to HCs, patients with BPD and MDD displayed homologous decreased activation in the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (vlPFC) during cognitive reappraisal. In addition, the MDD group presented decreased activations in other prefrontal areas (i.e., left dorsolateral and bilateral orbitofrontal cortices), while the BPD group was characterized by a more extended pattern of alteration in the connectivity between the vlPFC and cortices of the visual ventral stream during reappraisal.
This study identified, for the first time, a shared neurobiological contributor to emotion regulation deficits in MDD and BPD characterized by decreased vlPFC activity, although we also observed disorder-specific alterations. In MDD, results suggest a primary deficit in the strength of prefrontal activations, while BPD is better defined by connectivity disruptions between the vlPFC and temporal emotion processing regions. These findings substantiate, in neurobiological terms, the different profiles of emotion regulation alterations observed in these disorders.
Social and environmental factors such as poverty or violence modulate the risk and course of schizophrenia. However, how they affect the brain in patients with psychosis remains unclear.
We studied how environmental factors are related to brain structure in patients with schizophrenia and controls in Latin America, where these factors are large and unequally distributed.
This is a multicentre study of magnetic resonance imaging in patients with schizophrenia and controls from six Latin American cities. Total and voxel-level grey matter volumes, and their relationship with neighbourhood characteristics such as average income and homicide rates, were analysed with a general linear model.
A total of 334 patients with schizophrenia and 262 controls were included. Income was differentially related to total grey matter volume in both groups (P = 0.006). Controls showed a positive correlation between total grey matter volume and income (R = 0.14, P = 0.02). Surprisingly, this relationship was not present in patients with schizophrenia (R = −0.076, P = 0.17). Voxel-level analysis confirmed that this interaction was widespread across the cortex. After adjusting for global brain changes, income was positively related to prefrontal cortex volumes only in controls. Conversely, the hippocampus in patients with schizophrenia, but not in controls, was relatively larger in affluent environments. There was no significant correlation between environmental violence and brain structure.
Our results highlight the interplay between environment, particularly poverty, and individual characteristics in psychosis. This is particularly important for harsh environments such as low- and middle-income countries, where potentially less brain vulnerability (less grey matter loss) is sufficient to become unwell in adverse (poor) environments.
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