Anatomically precise relationship between specific amygdala connections and selective markers of mental well-being in humans
Klein-Flügge MC., Jensen DEA., Takagi Y., Verhagen L., Smith SM., Rushworth MFS.
AbstractThere has been increasing interest in using neuroimaging measures to predict psychiatric disorders. However, predictions usually rely on large numbers of brain connections and large disorder heterogeneity, thus lacking both anatomical and behavioural specificity, preventing the advancement of targeted interventions. Here, we address both challenges. First, using resting-state functional MRI, we parcellated the amygdala, a region implicated in mood disorders but difficult to image with high fidelity, into seven nuclei. Next, a questionnaire factor analysis provided four sub-clinical latent behaviours frequently found in anxious-depressive individuals, such as negative emotions and sleep problems. Finally, for each latent behaviour, we identified the most predictive connections between individual amygdala nuclei and highly specific regions of interest e.g. dorsal raphe nucleus in the brainstem or medial prefrontal cortical regions. A small number of distinct connections predicted behaviours, providing unprecedented levels of specificity, in humans, for relating mental well-being to precise anatomical connections.