Interaction between early life stress and alcohol dependence on neural stress reactivity

Hongyu Yang, Jeffrey S. Spence, Richard W. Briggs, Uma Rao, Carol S North, Michael D. Devous, Hong Xiao, Bryon H Adinoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Stress response biologic systems are altered in alcohol-dependent individuals. Early life stress (ELS) is associated with a heightened risk of alcohol dependence, presumably because of stress-induced neuroplastic changes. This study was designed to assess the contribution of ELS to a stress-induced neural response in alcohol-dependent participants. Fifteen alcohol-dependent men abstinent for 3-5 weeks and 15 age- and race-matched healthy controls were studied. Anticipatory anxiety was induced by a conditioned stimulus paired with an uncertain physically painful unconditioned stressor. Neural response was assessed with functional magnetic resonance imaging. ELS was assessed with the Childhood Adversity Interview. There was a significant interaction between ELS and group on blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) amplitude during anticipatory anxiety in the right amygdala and bilateral orbitofrontal cortex, posterior putamen and insula. Higher ELS scores were associated with decreased BOLD amplitude during anticipatory anxiety in alcohol-dependent, but not control, participants. These findings suggest that ELS interacts with alcohol dependence to induce a muted cortico-striatal response to high threat stimuli. Allostatic changes due to both ELS and excessive alcohol use may jointly induce persistent changes in the neural response to acute stressors. Early life stress (ELS) is associated with a heightened risk of alcohol dependence, presumably due to stress-induced neuroplastic changes. During a task evoking anticipatory anxiety, we observed an interaction between ELS and group (alcohol-dependence vs. healthy control) on BOLD amplitude in the orbitofrontal cortex, amygdala, putamen and insula; higher ELS was associated with decreased BOLD amplitude during anxiety in alcohol-dependent, but not control, participants. ELS and excessive alcohol use may jointly induce allostatic changes in the neural reactivity to acute stressors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)523-533
Number of pages11
JournalAddiction Biology
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2015

Keywords

  • Alcoholism
  • brain imaging
  • childhood adversity
  • functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • maltreatment
  • striatum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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  • Cite this

    Yang, H., Spence, J. S., Briggs, R. W., Rao, U., North, C. S., Devous, M. D., Xiao, H., & Adinoff, B. H. (2015). Interaction between early life stress and alcohol dependence on neural stress reactivity. Addiction Biology, 20(3), 523-533. https://doi.org/10.1111/adb.12135