Effect of childhood physical abuse on social anxiety is mediated via reduced frontal lobe and amygdala-hippocampus complex volume in adult clinical high-risk subjects

R. K.R. Salokangas*, J. Hietala, R. L. Armio, H. Laurikainen, T. From, S. Borgwardt, A. Riecher-Rössler, P. Brambilla, C. Bonivento, E. Meisenzahl, F. Schultze-Lutter, T. Haidl, S. Ruhrmann, R. Upthegrove, S. J. Wood, C. Pantelis, L. Kambeitz-Ilankovic, A. Ruef, D. B. Dwyer, J. KambeitzN. Koutsouleris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Childhood adverse experiences (CAE) are associated with clinical psychiatric disorders and symptoms, and with volumetric abnormalities in the amygdala-hippocampus complex (AmHiC) and frontal lobe (FroL) in adulthood. Aim: To study whether CAE are associated with reduced AmHiC and FroL and whether these structures mediate the effect of CAE on social anxiety and depression. Method: In seven European centres, 374 patients with recent onset of psychosis (n = 127), clinical high-risk to psychosis (n = 119) or recent onset of depression (n = 128) were scanned with MRI and their FroL and AmHiC volumes were measured. They all completed self-report scales for assessment of CAE, social anxiety and depression. Results: Of the CAE domains, physical abuse was associated specifically with reduced grey and white matter volumes of FroL and AmHiC in psychotic and high-risk patients. After controlling intracranial volume, PhyAb associated significantly with FroL and its grey matter volume in high-risk patients only. In mediation analyses, the effect of physical abuse on social anxiety was mediated via reduced FroL grey mater volume in high-risk patients. In them, when the effects of AmHiC and depression were controlled, the effect of physical abuse on social anxiety was mediated via FroL grey matter volume reduction. Conclusions: Childhood physical abuse is associated with reduced frontal lobe and amygdala-hippocampus complex volume in adult subjects with psychotic symptoms. Reduced frontal lobe and amygdala-hippocampus complex volume mediate the effect of physical abuse on social anxiety in high-risk patients. The effect of physical abuse on depression-independent social anxiety is mediated via reduced frontal lobe.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSchizophrenia Research
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 May 2020

Keywords

  • Amygdala-hippocampus complex
  • Brain MRI scan
  • High-risk
  • Physical abuse
  • Psychosis
  • Social anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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