Prefrontal cortex involvement during emotion regulation in subjects at clinical risk for psychosis

Presentation First Author: 
Andre Aleman

Introduction: Emotion regulation has been shown to be deficient in schizophrenia and this correlates with reduced activation of prefrontal regions during reappraisal of emotional information. To investigate whether such emotion dysregulation might precede psychotic disorder we studed this in individuals at ultra-high risk (UHR) for developing psychosis. Methods: Using fMRI, we scanned 16 UHR subjects and 16 matched healthy controls while performing an emotion regulation task. Results: We observed less activation in the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex during reappraisal in the UHR subjects compared to healthy controls. In addition, UHR subjects reported less use of reappraisal in daily life. Conclusion: These findings indicate that dysfunctional emotion regulation may already occur in the prodromal phase of schizophrenia. These regulation difficulties are underpinned by lower ventrolateral prefrontal cortex activation. They likely contribute to the higher levels of negative affect, lower social functioning and high rates of psychotic symptoms in this group.

Conference Name: 
Presentation Date: 
January, 2015
Additional Authors: 
Jorien van der Velde - Esther Opmeer - Edith Liemburg - Richard Bruggeman - Roeline Nieboer - Lex Wunderink
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