Publication date: Jan 02, 2020
In Huntington’s disease (HD), irritability and aggressive behavior represent highly prevalent and disabling neuropsychiatric symptoms. However, their structural brain correlates have not been extensively explored. Here, we rated the severity of irritability and aggression (IAs) using the Problem Behaviors Assessment for HD (PBA-s) in 31 early HD participants. The IAs score was computed as the mean severity score for the irritability plus the mean severity aggression PBA-s items. Seventeen patients were classified as IAs (IAs score?>?2) and 14 as non-IAs. All participants had available T1-MRI data. A grey matter volume voxel-based morphometry group comparison was performed, using age, motor status, severity of other PBA-s items and disease burden as covariates. Aside from irritability, aggression and obsessive-compulsive behavior, both groups were comparable in terms of other clinical and sociodemographic variables. In the IAs group, a significant reduction of grey-matter volume (GMV) was found in the bilateral caudate, putamen and globus pallidus, left pulvinar nucleus, right superior temporal pole (BA 38), left mid temporal gyrus (BA 21), right inferior temporal gyrus (BA 20) and left medial OPFC (BA 11). Lower GMV in the left pulvinar nucleus was significantly associated with higher anxiety and lower GMV in the left medial OPFC was significantly associated with higher suicidality. In sum, IAs in HD is associated with structural brain damage in a set of key nodes involved in the expression and down-regulation of negative emotions.
Martinez-Horta, S., Sampedro, F., Horta-Barba, A., Perez-Perez, J., Pagonabarraga, J., Gomez-Anson, B., and Kulisevsky, J. Structural brain correlates of irritability and aggression in early manifest Huntington’s disease. 06866. 2020 Brain Imaging Behav.