2016 年 136 巻 5 号 p. 711-714
Childhood maltreatment, which markedly increases risks for psychopathology, is associated with structural and functional brain differences. Especially, exposure to parental verbal abuse (PVA) or interparental violence during childhood is associated with negative outcomes such as depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and reduced cognitive abilities. Other forms of childhood maltreatment have been associated with brain structure or developmental alteration. Our earlier studies elucidated potential discernible effects of PVA and witnessing domestic violence during childhood on brain morphology, including gray matter volume or cortical thickness. Brain regions that process and convey the adverse sensory input of the abuse might be modified specifically by such experiences, particularly in subjects exposed to a single type of maltreatment. Exposure to multiple types of maltreatment is more commonly associated with morphological alterations in the corticolimbic regions. These findings fit with preclinical studies showing that sensory cortices are highly plastic structures. Using tasks with high and low monetary rewards while subjects underwent functional MRI, we also examined whether neural activity during reward processing was altered, or not, in children and adolescents with reactive attachment disorder (RAD). Significantly reduced activity in the caudate and nucleus accumbens was observed during a high monetary reward condition in the RAD group compared to the typically developed group. The striatal neural reward activity in the RAD group was also markedly decreased. The present results suggest that dopaminergic dysfunction occurred in the striatum in children and adolescents with RAD, potentially leading to a future risk of psychiatric disorders such as dependence.