Robinson De Jesus

Robinson De Jesus

PI: David Zald, PhD, Department of Psychological Sciences

Testing white matter integrity as a predictor of conversion from conduct disorder to antisocial personality disorder using DTI

Conduct Disorder (CD) in children has been consistently linked to Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) in adults.  However, it remains unknown which neural correlates distinguish between individuals who go onto develop ASPD versus those who don’t.  The Uncinate Fasciculus (UF) is known to connect the orbitofrontal cortex to the limbic system.  Thus, low white matter integrity of the UF, should hinder communication between these regions, which are related to decision making and emotion.  Therefore, the UF may be key for understanding emotional processing deficits that characterize ASPD. We analyzed Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) data of subjects from wave 2 of the Tennessee Twin Study (Lahey et al., 2008). We selected subjects who were diagnosed with CD as a child on wave 1 and later developed ASPD on wave 2 (n=46, age M= 25.9).  We compared these to subjects who had CD on wave 1 but did not developed ASPD on wave 2 (CD-ASPD) and a control group of individuals who didn’t meet any diagnostic criteria at neither wave 1 nor 2.  We hypothesize that participants with ASPD will have lower white matter integrity of the UF compared to the CD-ASPD and the control group.  To test this hypothesis, we used TRACULA (TRActs Constrained by UnderLying Anatomy) which is a tool used to reconstruct major white-matter pathways from MRI.  We will correlate the TRACULA data from the UF and other relevant white matter tracts to a series of questionnaires probing emotion regulation, response to pleasure, anxiety and early life experiences.