High early life stress and aberrant amygdala activity: risk factors for elevated neuropsychiatric symptoms in HIV+ adults.

TitleHigh early life stress and aberrant amygdala activity: risk factors for elevated neuropsychiatric symptoms in HIV+ adults.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsClark, US, Sweet, LH, Morgello, S, Philip, NS, Cohen, R
JournalBrain Imaging Behav
Volume11
Issue3
Pagination649-665
Date Published2017 Jun
ISSN1931-7565
Abstract

Relative to HIV-negative adults, HIV+ adults report elevated levels of early life stress (ELS). In non-HIV samples, high ELS has been linked to abnormalities in brain structure and function, as well as increased risk of neuropsychiatric symptoms. Yet, little is known about the neural effects of high ELS, and their relation to elevated neuropsychiatric symptoms, in HIV+ adults. Recent studies have revealed combined effects of HIV and high ELS on amygdala morphometry. Aberrant amygdala activity is prominently implicated in studies of neuropsychiatric symptomology in non-HIV samples. Hence, this preliminary study examined: 1) the combined effects of HIV and high ELS on amygdala activity, and 2) the relation between amygdala activity and neuropsychiatric symptoms in HIV+ adults. We included 28 HIV+ adults and 25 demographically-matched HIV-negative control (HC) adults. ELS exposure was quantified using a retrospective ELS questionnaire, which defined four groups: HIV+ Low-ELS (N = 15); HIV+ High-ELS (N = 13); HC Low-ELS (N = 16); and HC High-ELS (N = 9). Participants completed a battery of neuropsychiatric measures. BOLD fMRI assessed amygdala reactivity during explicit observation of fearful/angry faces. High-ELS participants demonstrated reduced levels of amygdala reactivity relative to Low-ELS participants. HIV+ High-ELS participants reported higher levels of neuropsychiatric symptoms than all other groups. In the HIV+ group, lower amygdala responses were associated with higher neuropsychiatric symptoms, particularly depression, anxiety, and alexithymia. Collectively, these results suggest that high ELS exposure is a significant risk factor for neuropsychiatric symptoms in HIV+ adults. Furthermore, our results implicate ELS-related abnormalities in amygdala activity in the etiology of neuropsychiatric symptoms in HIV+ adults.

DOI10.1007/s11682-016-9542-5
Alternate JournalBrain Imaging Behav
PubMed ID27011015
PubMed Central IDPMC5035553
Grant ListU24 MH100931 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
R25 MH083635 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
P30 DA027827 / DA / NIDA NIH HHS / United States
K23 MH096628 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
IK2 CX000724 / CX / CSRD VA / United States
R25 MH080663 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
L60 MD006658 / MD / NIMHD NIH HHS / United States
UL1 TR000067 / TR / NCATS NIH HHS / United States
P30 AI042853 / AI / NIAID NIH HHS / United States
P01 AA019072 / AA / NIAAA NIH HHS / United States
R01 MH074368 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States