Chronotype, Longitudinal Volumetric Brain Variations Throughout Adolescence and Depressive Symptom Development
Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 2022-06-01; :
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OBJECTIVE: Adolescence is a critical period for circadian rhythm, with a strong shift towards eveningness around age 14. Also, eveningness in adolescence has been found to predict later onset of depressive symptomatology. However, no previous study has investigated structural variations associated with chronotype in early adolescence, and how this adds to the development of depressive symptoms.
METHOD: We assessed 128 community-based adolescents (51% girls) at age 14 and 19 years. Using whole brain voxel-based morphometry (VBM), we measured baseline (at age 14), follow-up (at age 19) regional gray matter volumes (GMV) and longitudinal changes (between 14 and 19) associated with the
morningness/eveningness scale in children (MESC) score and sleep habits at baseline. We then studied the association of GMV with depressive symptoms at 19 years and assessed the role of potential clinical and genetics factors as mediators and moderators.
RESULTS: Higher eveningness was associated with larger GMV in the right medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) at ages 14 and 19 in the whole sample. GMV in this
region related to depressive symptoms at age 19 in val/val but not in Met COMT carriers. We also observed larger GMV the right fusiform at age 14 that were
explained by later wake-up time during weekends.
CONCLUSION: In adolescence, eveningness and its related sleep habits correlated with distinct developmental patterns. Eveningness was specifically associated with GMV changes in the mPFC; this could serve as brain vulnerability factor for later self-reported depressive symptoms in COMT val/val carriers.
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