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Muñoz, Karen Elizabeth (2009) AMYGDALA AND VENTRAL STRIATAL REACTIVITY IN ADOLESCENTS AT HIGH-RISK FOR DEPRESSION. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Previous research has shown that depression clusters within families. Adolescents from these families (i.e., high-risk) have approximately a three-fold increased risk of developing depression, an earlier mean age at onset, and greater lifetime morbidity in comparison with low-risk adolescents. Understanding the developmental pathways and mechanisms of susceptibility to depression, especially at the level of neurobiological circuits, is critical for the development of more effective intervention and prevention strategies, particularly in high-risk adolescents. The current study examined the functional reactivity of affect- and reward-related neural circuitries in high-risk and low-risk adolescents, as well as the functional coupling between regions of PFC and amygdala and ventral striatum. Adolescents (aged 12-15 years)—stratified according to familial history of depression (i.e., high- and low-risk)—completed two fMRI paradigms known to reliably elicit threat-related amygdala and reward-related ventral striatal reactivity, respectively. Using a conservative threshold, employed because of the very large sample size (> 300 adolescents), the present analyses failed to detect significant differences between these groups at the level of the amygdala and ventral striatum. When a more liberal threshold was applied, hypothesized differences were observed for both the amygdala reactivity paradigm and the ventral striatal reactivity paradigm: high-risk adolescents displayed relatively greater amygdala reactivity and relatively blunted VS reactivity compared to low-risk adolescents. Additionally, these data offer some evidence to suggest that alterations in functional connectivity of the threat-related amygdala reactivity network (but not reward-related VS reactivity) may vary as a function of risk status during adolescence.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Muñoz, Karen Elizabethkem51@pitt.eduKEM51
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHariri, Ahmad
Committee MemberShaw, Daniel Scasey@pitt.eduCASEY
Committee MemberWilliamson, Douglas
Committee MemberForbes, Erika EForbesE@upmc.eduERIKA
Date: 5 June 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 30 January 2009
Approval Date: 5 June 2009
Submission Date: 21 April 2009
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: mood disorder; psychopathology; teenager; youth; neurobiology; neuroimaging; risk factors
Other ID:, etd-04212009-052837
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:40
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:35


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