fMRI BOLD Response to the Eyes Task in Offspring From Multiplex Alcohol Dependence Families
Article first published online: 20 NOV 2007
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume 31, Issue 12, pages 2028–2035, December 2007
How to Cite
Hill, S. Y., Kostelnik, B., Holmes, B., Goradia, D., McDermott, M., Diwadkar, V. and Keshavan, M. (2007), fMRI BOLD Response to the Eyes Task in Offspring From Multiplex Alcohol Dependence Families. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 31: 2028–2035. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2007.00535.x
- Issue published online: 20 NOV 2007
- Article first published online: 20 NOV 2007
- Received for publication May 14, 2007; accepted September 24, 2007.
- fMRI Eyes Task;
- Theory of Mind (ToM);
- Right Middle Temporal Gyrus (RMTG);
- High Risk Offspring;
- Alcohol Dependence
Background: Increased susceptibility for developing alcohol dependence (AD) may be related to structural and functional differences in brain circuits that influence social cognition and more specifically, theory of mind (ToM). Alcohol dependent individuals have a greater likelihood of having deficits in social skills and greater social alienation. These characteristics may be related to inherited differences in the neuroanatomical network that comprises the social brain.
Methods: Adolescent/young adult participants from multiplex AD families and controls (n = 16) were matched for gender, age, IQ, education, and handedness and administered the Eyes Task of Baron-Cohen during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
Results: High-risk (HR) subjects showed significantly diminished blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) response in comparison with low-risk control young adults in the right middle temporal gyrus (RMTG) and the left inferior frontal gyrus (LIFG), areas that have previously been implicated in ToM tasks.
Conclusions: Offspring from multiplex families for AD may manifest one aspect of their genetic susceptibility by having a diminished BOLD response in brain regions associated with performance of ToM tasks. These results suggest that those at risk for developing AD may have reduced ability to empathize with others’ state of mind, possibly resulting in diminished social skill.