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Amygdala volume and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis reactivity to social stress

Barry, TJ; Murray, L; Fearon, P; Moutsiana, C; Johnstone, T; Halligan, SL; (2017) Amygdala volume and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis reactivity to social stress. Psychoneuroendocrinology , 85 pp. 96-99. 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2017.07.487. Green open access

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Abstract

The amygdala plays a central role in emotional processing and has an activating influence on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Structural changes in the amygdala have been associated with early adversity and, in principle, may contribute to the later emergence of emotional pathologies by influencing the way that the brain responds to stress provocation. The present study examined the relationship between amygdala volumes and cortisol secretion in response to a social stressor among young adults who were or were not exposed to maternal postnatal depression (PND) early in development (referred to as PND offspring and controls, respectively). Hierarchical Linear Modelling (HLM) revealed that, on a sample-wide level, there was no evidence of a relationship between total amygdala volume, or the volume of the right or left hemisphere amygdala taken separately, and cortisol reactivity. Unexpectedly, for PND offspring, larger right hemisphere amygdala volume was associated with lower cortisol reactivity in response to stress, an effect that was not apparent in control offspring. We conclude that the relationship between amygdala volumes and stress reactivity may not be as clear as previous models suggested.

Type: Article
Title: Amygdala volume and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis reactivity to social stress
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2017.07.487
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2017.07.487
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/BY/4.0/).
Keywords: Amygdala, Cortisol, Depression, Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, Stress sensitivity
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
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 > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1572445
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