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Heritable Variations in Gray Matter Concentration as a Potential Endophenotype for Psychopathic Traits

Rijsdijsk, Fruhling V.; Viding, Essi; De Brito, Stéphane; Forgiarini, Matteo; Mechelli, Andrea; Jones, Alice P. and McCrory, Eamon. 2010. Heritable Variations in Gray Matter Concentration as a Potential Endophenotype for Psychopathic Traits. Archives of General Psychiatry, 67(4), pp. 406-413. ISSN 0003-990X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

CONTEXT: Genetic vulnerability to psychopathic traits is likely to also manifest at the neural level. We have recently reported increased gray matter concentration in several brain areas in boys with psychopathic traits.

OBJECTIVE: To explore whether these gray matter concentration differences can be regarded as endophenotypes for psychopathic traits by (1) assessing their heritability and (2) examining the etiology of the co-occurrence of psychopathic traits and increased gray matter concentration.

DESIGN: Community twin sample.

SETTING: On-campus neuroimaging facility. Patients or Other

PARTICIPANTS: One hundred twenty-three male twins (56 monozygotic and 67 dizygotic individuals; mean age 11.55 years; range, 10-13 years).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: We analyzed structural magnetic resonance imaging scans. Voxel-based morphometry analyses were used to obtain gray matter concentration values that were analyzed in a biometrical genetic twin model. RESULTS: Left posterior cingulate and right dorsal anterior cingulate gray matter concentrations were found to be the strongest endophenotype markers, with heritability estimates of 46% and 37%, respectively, and common genes explaining the phenotypic relationship between these regions and psychopathic traits. No significant heritabilities were found for several regions, including the right orbitofrontal cortex and insula.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that structural endophenotypes, in the form of variations in gray matter concentration, reflect genetic vulnerability for psychopathic traits. Specifically, gray matter concentration in the left posterior cingulate and right dorsal anterior cingulate, brain areas implicated in empathy, moral processing, and introspection, are potential candidate endophenotypes for psychopathic traits.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2010.20

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology > Unit for School and Family Studies
Research Office > REF2014

Dates:

DateEvent
April 2010Published

Item ID:

6995

Date Deposited:

06 Jul 2012 13:07

Last Modified:

04 Jul 2017 09:15

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/6995

Available Versions of this Item

  • Heritable Variations in Gray Matter Concentration as a Potential Endophenotype for Psychopathic Traits. (deposited 06 Jul 2012 13:07) [Currently Displayed]
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