Social behaviors and gray matter volumes of brain areas supporting social cognition in children and adolescents with prenatal alcohol exposure

Erik de Water, Madeline N. Rockhold, Donovan J. Roediger, Alyssa M. Krueger, Bryon A. Mueller, Christopher J. Boys, Mariah J. Schumacher, Sarah N. Mattson, Kenneth L. Jones, Kelvin O. Lim, Jeffrey R. Wozniak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The goal of this study was to examine: 1) differences in parent-reported prosocial and antisocial behaviors between children and adolescents with and without prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE); 2) differences in gray matter volumes of brain areas supporting social cognition between children and adolescents with and without PAE; 3) correlations between gray matter volumes of brain areas supporting social cognition and parent-reported prosocial and antisocial behaviors. Parents of children and adolescents ages 8–16 years completed measures on their prosocial and antisocial behaviors (i.e., Behavior Assessment Scale for Children, Vineland Adaptive Behaviors Scales, and Child Behavior Checklist) (n = 84; 41 with PAE, 43 without PAE). Seventy-nine participants (40 with PAE, 39 without PAE) also completed a structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan with quality data. Gray matter volumes of seven brain areas supporting social cognitive processes were computed using automated procedures (FreeSurfer 6.0): bilateral fusiform gyrus, superior temporal gyrus, medial orbitofrontal cortex, lateral orbitofrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, precuneus, and temporal pole. Children and adolescents with PAE showed decreased prosocial behaviors and increased antisocial behaviors as well as smaller volumes of the precuneus and lateral orbitofrontal cortex, even when controlling for total intracranial volume. Social brain volumes were not significantly correlated with prosocial or antisocial behaviors. These findings suggest that children and adolescents with PAE show worse social functioning and smaller volumes of brain areas supporting self-awareness, perspective-taking and emotion-regulation than their same-age peers without PAE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number147388
JournalBrain Research
Volume1761
Early online dateFeb 20 2021
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 15 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
All of this work was done in conjunction with the Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (CIFASD; www.cifasd.org), which is funded by grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Support for this research was provided by the NIAAA (5U01AA026102, 5U01AA014834, 5U24AA014815, 5U24AA014811, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), the Biotechnology Research Center (P41 EB015 894), the NINDS Institutional Center Core Grants to Support Neuroscience Research (P30 NS076408), and the High Performance Connectome Upgrade for Human 3 T MR Scanner (1S10OD017974-01).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
  • Gray Matter Volume
  • Social Behaviors

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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