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Chronic psychosocial stressors are associated with alterations in salience processing and corticostriatal connectivity

McCutcheon, RA; Bloomfield, MAP; Dahoun, T; Mehta, M; Howes, OD; (2018) Chronic psychosocial stressors are associated with alterations in salience processing and corticostriatal connectivity. Schizophrenia Research 10.1016/j.schres.2018.12.011. Green open access

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Abstract

Psychosocial stressors including childhood adversity, migration, and living in an urban environment, have been associated with several psychiatric disorders, including psychotic disorders. The neural and psychological mechanisms mediating this relationship remain unclear. In parallel, alterations in corticostriatal connectivity and abnormalities in the processing of salience, are seen in psychotic disorders. Aberrant functioning of these mechanisms secondary to chronic stress exposure, could help explain how common environmental exposures are associated with a diverse range of symptoms. In the current study, we recruited two groups of adults, one with a high degree of exposure to chronic psychosocial stressors (the exposed group, n = 20), and one with minimal exposure (the unexposed group, n = 22). All participants underwent a resting state MRI scan, completed the Aberrant Salience Inventory, and performed a behavioural task - the Salience Attribution Test (SAT). The exposed group showed reduced explicit adaptive salience scores (cohen's d = 0.69, p = 0.03) and increased aberrant salience inventory scores (d = 0.65, p = 0.04). The exposed group also showed increased corticostriatal connectivity between the ventral striatum and brain regions previously implicated in salience processing. Corticostriatal connectivity in these regions negatively correlated with SAT explicit adaptive salience (r = -0.48, p = 0.001), and positively correlated with aberrant salience inventory scores (r = 0.42, p = 0.006). Furthermore, in a mediation analysis there was tentative evidence that differences in striato-cortical connectivity mediated the group differences in salience scores.

Type: Article
Title: Chronic psychosocial stressors are associated with alterations in salience processing and corticostriatal connectivity
Location: Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.schres.2018.12.011
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2018.12.011
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Keywords: Corticostriatal, Functional connectivity, Psychosis, Schizophrenia, Stress, Striatum
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10064954
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