Altered Superficial Amygdala–Cortical Functional Link in Resting State After 36 Hours of Total Sleep Deprivation

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Abstract

The superficial amygdala (SFA) is important in human emotion/affective processing via its strong connection with other limbic and cerebral cortex for receptive and expressive emotion processing. Few studies have investigated the functional connectivity changes of the SFA under extreme conditions, such as prolonged sleep loss, although the SFA showed a distinct functional connectivity pattern throughout the brain. In this study, resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) was employed to investigate the changes of SFA–cortical functional connectivity after 36 hr of total sleep deprivation (TSD). Fourteen healthy male volunteers aged 25.9 ± 2.3 years (range 18–28 years) enrolled in this within-subject crossover study. We found that the right SFA showed increased functional connectivity with the right medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and decreased functional connectivity with the right dorsal posterior cingulate cortex (dPCC) in the resting brain after TSD compared with that during rested wakefulness. For the left SFA, decreased connectivity with the right dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and right dPCC was found. Further regression analysis indicated that the functional link between mPFC and SFA significantly correlated with the Profile of Mood State scores. Our results suggest that the amygdala cannot be treated as a single unit in human neuroimaging studies and that TSD may alter the functional connectivity pattern of the SFA, which in turn disrupts emotional regulation. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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