Childhood urbanization affects prefrontal cortical responses to trait anxiety and interacts with polygenic risk for depression
Daniel R Weinberger,
Hao Yang Tan
Posted 12 Jan 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/246876 (published DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2019.03.323)
Posted 12 Jan 2018
Global increases in urbanization have brought dramatic economic, environmental and social changes. However, less is understood about how these may influence disease-related brain mechanisms underlying epidemiological observations that urban birth and childhoods may increase the risk for neuropsychiatric disorders, including increased social stress and depression. In a genetically homogeneous Han Chinese adult population with divergent urban and rural birth and childhoods, we examined the structural and functional MRI neural correlates of childhood urbanicity, focusing on behavioral traits responding to social status threats, and polygenic risk for depression. Subjects with divergent rural and urban childhoods were similar in adult socioeconomic status and were genetically homogeneous. Urban childhoods, however, were associated with higher trait anxiety-depression. On structural MRI, urban childhoods were associated with relatively reduced medial prefrontal gray matter volumes. Functional medial prefrontal engagement under social status threat during working memory correlated with trait anxiety-depression in subjects with urban childhoods, to a significantly greater extent than in their rural counterparts, implicating an exaggerated physiological response to the threat context. Stress-associated medial prefrontal engagement also interacted with polygenic risk for depression, significantly predicting a differential response in individuals with urban but not rural childhoods. Developmental urbanicity thus differentially influenced medial prefrontal structure and function, at least in part through mechanisms associated with the neural processing of social status threat, trait anxiety, and genetic risk for depression, which may be factors in the association of urbanicity with adult psychopathology. Significance Statement Urban living has been associated with social inequalities and stress. However, less is understood about the neural underpinnings by which these stressors affect disease risk, and in particular, genetic risk for depression. Leveraging urbanization in China, we studied adults with diverse urban and rural upbringings, who were genetically homogeneous and with similar current socioeconomic status, to isolate the effects of childhood urbanicity. At medial prefrontal cortex, a region critical for processing emotional stressors and social status, genetic risk for depression resulted in more deleterious function under stress in individuals with urban, but not rural childhoods. This implicates medial prefrontal cortex’s critical role in brain development, integrating genetic mechanisms of stress and depression with the childhood environment.
- Downloaded 960 times
- Download rankings, all-time:
- Site-wide: 22,990
- In neuroscience: 2,954
- Year to date:
- Site-wide: 28,064
- Since beginning of last month:
- Site-wide: 25,477
Downloads over time
Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide
- 27 Nov 2020: The website and API now include results pulled from medRxiv as well as bioRxiv.
- 18 Dec 2019: We're pleased to announce PanLingua, a new tool that enables you to search for machine-translated bioRxiv preprints using more than 100 different languages.
- 21 May 2019: PLOS Biology has published a community page about Rxivist.org and its design.
- 10 May 2019: The paper analyzing the Rxivist dataset has been published at eLife.
- 1 Mar 2019: We now have summary statistics about bioRxiv downloads and submissions.
- 8 Feb 2019: Data from Altmetric is now available on the Rxivist details page for every preprint. Look for the "donut" under the download metrics.
- 30 Jan 2019: preLights has featured the Rxivist preprint and written about our findings.
- 22 Jan 2019: Nature just published an article about Rxivist and our data.
- 13 Jan 2019: The Rxivist preprint is live!