Neurodevelopmental origins of abnormal cortical morphology in dissociative identity disorder

A. A. T. S. Reinders, S. Chalavi, Y. R. Schlumpf, E. M. Vissia, E. R. S. Nijenhuis, L. Jäncke, D. J. Veltman, C. Ecker

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Objective: To examine the two constitutes of cortical volume (CV), that is, cortical thickness (CT) and surface area (SA), in individuals with dissociative identity disorder (DID) with the view of gaining important novel insights into the underlying neurobiological mechanisms mediating DID. Methods: This study included 32 female patients with DID and 43 matched healthy controls. Between-group differences in CV, thickness, and SA, the degree of spatial overlap between differences in CT and SA, and their relative contribution to differences in regional CV were assessed using a novel spatially unbiased vertex-wise approach. Whole-brain correlation analyses were performed between measures of cortical anatomy and dissociative symptoms and traumatization. Results: Individuals with DID differed from controls in CV, CT, and SA, with significantly decreased CT in the insula, anterior cingulate, and parietal regions and reduced cortical SA in temporal and orbitofrontal cortices. Abnormalities in CT and SA shared only about 3% of all significantly different cerebral surface locations and involved distinct contributions to the abnormality of CV in DID. Significant negative associations between abnormal brain morphology (SA and CV) and dissociative symptoms and early childhood traumatization (0 and 3 years of age) were found. Conclusions: In DID, neuroanatomical areas with decreased CT and SA are in different locations in the brain. As CT and SA have distinct genetic and developmental origins, our findings may indicate that different neurobiological mechanisms and environmental factors impact on cortical morphology in DID, such as early childhood traumatization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-170
JournalActa psychiatrica Scandinavica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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