Impact of chronic hypercortisolemia on affective processing

Scott A. Langenecker, Sara L. Weisenbach, Bruno Giordani, Emily M. Briceño, Leslie M. Guidotti Breting, Michael Paul Schallmo, Hadia M. Leon, Douglas C. Noll, Jon Kar Zubieta, David E. Schteingart, Monica N. Starkman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Cushing syndrome (CS) is the classic condition of cortisol dysregulation, and cortisol dysregulation is the prototypic finding in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). We hypothesized that subjects with active CS would show dysfunction in frontal and limbic structures relevant to affective networks, and also manifest poorer facial affect identification accuracy, a finding reported in MDD. Twenty-one patients with confirmed CS (20 ACTH-dependent and 1 ACTH-independent) were compared to 21 healthy control subjects. Identification of affective facial expressions (Facial Emotion Perception Test) was conducted in a 3 Tesla GE fMRI scanner using BOLD fMRI signal. The impact of disease (illness duration, current hormone elevation and degree of disruption of circadian rhythm), performance, and comorbid conditions secondary to hypercortisolemia were evaluated. CS patients made more errors in categorizing facial expressions and had less activation in left anterior superior temporal gyrus, a region important in emotion processing. CS patients showed higher activation in frontal, medial, and subcortical regions relative to controls. Two regions of elevated activation in CS, left middle frontal and lateral posterior/pulvinar areas, were positively correlated with accuracy in emotion identification in the CS group, reflecting compensatory recruitment. In addition, within the CS group, greater activation in left dorsal anterior cingulate was related to greater severity of hormone dysregulation. In conclusion, cortisol dysregulation in CS patients is associated with problems in accuracy of affective discrimination and altered activation of brain structures relevant to emotion perception, processing and regulation, similar to the performance decrements and brain regions shown to be dysfunctional in MDD. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Anxiety and Depression'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-225
Number of pages9
JournalNeuropharmacology
Volume62
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

Fingerprint

Cushing Syndrome
Major Depressive Disorder
Emotions
Hydrocortisone
Facial Expression
Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Pulvinar
Hormones
Gyrus Cinguli
Brain
Temporal Lobe
Circadian Rhythm
Healthy Volunteers
Anxiety
Depression

Keywords

  • ACTH
  • Affect
  • Cortisol
  • Cushings
  • Emotion
  • HPA
  • fMRI

Cite this

Langenecker, S. A., Weisenbach, S. L., Giordani, B., Briceño, E. M., Guidotti Breting, L. M., Schallmo, M. P., ... Starkman, M. N. (2012). Impact of chronic hypercortisolemia on affective processing. Neuropharmacology, 62(1), 217-225. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.07.006

Impact of chronic hypercortisolemia on affective processing. / Langenecker, Scott A.; Weisenbach, Sara L.; Giordani, Bruno; Briceño, Emily M.; Guidotti Breting, Leslie M.; Schallmo, Michael Paul; Leon, Hadia M.; Noll, Douglas C.; Zubieta, Jon Kar; Schteingart, David E.; Starkman, Monica N.

In: Neuropharmacology, Vol. 62, No. 1, 01.01.2012, p. 217-225.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Langenecker, SA, Weisenbach, SL, Giordani, B, Briceño, EM, Guidotti Breting, LM, Schallmo, MP, Leon, HM, Noll, DC, Zubieta, JK, Schteingart, DE & Starkman, MN 2012, 'Impact of chronic hypercortisolemia on affective processing', Neuropharmacology, vol. 62, no. 1, pp. 217-225. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.07.006
Langenecker SA, Weisenbach SL, Giordani B, Briceño EM, Guidotti Breting LM, Schallmo MP et al. Impact of chronic hypercortisolemia on affective processing. Neuropharmacology. 2012 Jan 1;62(1):217-225. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.07.006
Langenecker, Scott A. ; Weisenbach, Sara L. ; Giordani, Bruno ; Briceño, Emily M. ; Guidotti Breting, Leslie M. ; Schallmo, Michael Paul ; Leon, Hadia M. ; Noll, Douglas C. ; Zubieta, Jon Kar ; Schteingart, David E. ; Starkman, Monica N. / Impact of chronic hypercortisolemia on affective processing. In: Neuropharmacology. 2012 ; Vol. 62, No. 1. pp. 217-225.
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