Our brain during distinct developmental phases may show differential responses to perceived psychological stress, yet existing research specifically examining neurodevelopmental changes in stress processing is scarce. To fill in this research gap, this functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study examined the relationship between perceived stress and resting-state neural connectivity patterns among 67 healthy volunteers belonging to three age groups (adolescents, young adults and adults), who were supposed to be at separate neurodevelopmental phases and exhibit different affect regulatory processes in the brain. While the groups showed no significant difference in self-reported general perceived stress levels, the functional connectivity between amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) was positively and negatively correlated with perceived stress in adolescents and young adults respectively, while no significant correlations were observed in adults. Furthermore, among adolescents, the causal functional interaction between amygdala and vmPFC exhibited bottom-up connectivity, and that between amygdala and subgenual anterior cingulate cortex exhibited top-down connectivity, both of which changed to bilateral directions, i.e. both bottom-up and top-down connections, in both young adults and adults, supporting the notion that the amygdala and prefrontal cortical circuitries undergo functional reorganizations during brain development. These novel findings have important clinical implications in treating stress-related affective disorders in young individuals. Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.
CitationWu, J., Geng, X., Shao, R., Wong, N. M. L., Tao, J., Chen, L., . . . Lee, T. M. C. (2018). Neurodevelopmental changes in the relationship between stress perception and prefrontal-amygdala functional circuitry. NeuroImage: Clinical, 20, 267-274. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2018.07.022
- Brain development
- Dynamic causal modeling
- Resting-state functional connectivity
- Ventromedial prefrontal cortex