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Table of Contents
Vol. 79, No. 6, 2010
Issue release date: October 2010
Section title: Regular Article
Psychother Psychosom 2010;79:363–370
(DOI:10.1159/000320121)

Increased Activation of the Supragenual Anterior Cingulate Cortex during Visual Emotional Processing in Male Subjects with High Degrees of Alexithymia: An Event-Related fMRI Study

Heinzel A.a · Schäfer R.b · Müller H.-W.a · Schieffer A.a · Ingenhag A.a · Eickhoff S.B.c–e · Northoff G.f · Franz M.b · Hautzel H.a
aDepartment of Nuclear Medicine and bClinical Institute of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, cDepartment of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, dJülich Aachen Research Alliance (JARA) – Translational Brain Medicine, and eInstitute for Neuroscience and Biophysics-Medicine (INB 3), Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany; fCanada Research Chair in Neuropsychiatry, Ottawa University, Ottawa, Ont., Canada

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Regular Article

Received: November 02, 2009
Accepted: February 03, 2010
Published online: August 20, 2010
Issue release date: October 2010

Number of Print Pages: 8
Number of Figures: 1
Number of Tables: 2

ISSN: 0033-3190 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0348 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/PPS

Abstract

Background: One of the most prominent neurobiological models of alexithymia assumes an altered function of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) as the crucial neural correlate of alexithymia. So far functional imaging studies have yielded inconclusive results. Therefore, we tested this hypothesis in healthy alexithymics and nonalexithymics in an event-related fMRI study. Methods:Thirty high- and 30 low-alexithymic right-handed male subjects (selected by the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale, TAS-20) were investigated with event-related fMRI using a picture viewing paradigm. The stimuli consisted of happy, fearful and neutral facial expressions (Ekman-Friesen) as well as positive, negative and neutral pictures from the International Affective Picture System. Results: Contrasting the high-alexithymic with the low-alexithymic group we observed increased activation of the supragenual ACC for different emotional valences as well as for different emotional stimuli. Moreover, there was a positive correlation of the ACC with the individual TAS-20 scores but no correlations with the individual Beck Depression Inventory scores. Additionally, there was no difference in activity of the amygdala. Conclusions: We demonstrated that the supragenual ACC is constantly activated more strongly in alexithymic subjects and that this activation is related to the symptoms of alexithymia and not to associated symptoms such as depression. Therefore, our findings support the hypothesis of an altered function of the ACC in alexithymia.

© 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Regular Article

Received: November 02, 2009
Accepted: February 03, 2010
Published online: August 20, 2010
Issue release date: October 2010

Number of Print Pages: 8
Number of Figures: 1
Number of Tables: 2

ISSN: 0033-3190 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0348 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/PPS


Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer

Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or, in the case of photocopying, direct payment of a specified fee to the Copyright Clearance Center.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
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