Regional gray matter volume and anxiety-related traits interact to predict somatic complaints in a non-clinical sample

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Somatic complaints can be important features of an individual’s expression of anxiety. Anxiety-related traits are also risk factors for somatic symptoms. However, it is not known which neuroanatomical mechanisms may be responsible for this relationship. In this study, our first step was to use voxel-based morphometry (VBM) approaches to investigate the neuroanatomical basis underlying somatic complaints in a large sample of healthy subjects. We found a significant positive correlation between somatic complaints and parahippocampal gyrus (PHG) volume adjacent to the entorhinal cortex. Further analysis revealed that the interaction between PHG volume/entorhinal cortex and neuroticism-anxiety (N-Anx) predicted somatic complaints. Specifically, somatic complaints were associated with higher N-Anx for individuals with increased PHG volume. These findings suggest that increased PHG volume and higher trait anxiety can predict vulnerability to somatic complaints in the general population.

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