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65. Functional connectivity of prefrontal cortex and amygdala as a mediator in the relation between childhood maltreatment and adulthood major depressive disorder
Childhood emotional, physical, and/or sexual maltreatment (CM) significantly disrupts neuroplastic mechanisms within the developing brain, which creates risk for psychiatric disorders in adulthood, such as major depressive disorder (MDD). Consequences of corticosteroid exposure due to CM include arrested development of prefrontal cortex (PFC) and abnormal amygdala neurotransmission. This inhibits the ability of PFC to down-regulate the amygdala’s overactive emotional processing during stress. Consensus is unclear whether impaired communication between PFC and amygdala mediates the association between CM and MDD symptom severity in adulthood. We test this question in a sample of 101 adults with MDD and 74 healthy adults. CM was assessed retrospectively with the Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse (CECA), a semi-structured contextual interview that involves independent ratings of CM. MDD symptom severity was assessed with the semi-structured Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). PFC-amygdala communication was captured using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (RS-fMRI) and defined based on the co-activation (i.e. functional connectivity) of spherical regions within PFC and amygdala over time. fMRI data analysis is currently in progress. We hypothesize that CM history is associated with PFC-amygdala hypoconnectivity. Further, PFC-amygdala connectivity is hypothesized to mediate the relation between CM and MDD symptom severity.