Effects of exogenous testosterone application on network connectivity within emotion regulation systems

Mikhail Votinov*, Lisa Wagels, Felix Hoffstaedter, Thilo Kellermann, Katharina S. Goerlich, Simon B. Eickhoff, Ute Habel

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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    Studies with steroid hormones underlined the vital role of testosterone on social-emotional processing. However, there is still a lack of studies investigating whether testosterone modulates network connectivity during resting-state. Here, we tested how the exogenous application of testosterone would affect functional connectivity between regions implicated in emotion regulation. In total, 96 male participants underwent resting-state fMRI scanning. Before the measurement, half of the subjects received 5 g Testim (TM) gel (containing 50 mg testosterone) and the other half a corresponding amount of placebo gel. Seeds for the connectivity analysis were meta-analytically defined. First, all regions associated with emotion regulation were chosen via Neurosynth (data driven). Among those, specific seeds were selected and categorized based on the neural model of emotion regulation by Etkin and colleagues (Etkin et al., 2015) (theory-guided). Resting-state connectivity analysis revealed decreased connectivity between the right DLPFC and the right amygdala as well as between the VMPFC and the left IPL for the testosterone group compared to the placebo group. A complementary dynamic causal modeling (DCM) analysis on findings from the resting-state connectivity analysis underlined a bidirectional coupling which was decreased close to zero by testosterone administration. Our results demonstrate that testosterone administration disrupts resting-state connectivity within frontosubcortical and fronto-parietal circuits. The findings suggest that even without a specific task (e.g. challenge, reward processing) testosterone modulates brain networks important for social-emotional processing.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number2352
    Number of pages10
    JournalScientific Reports
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 11-Feb-2020


    • BRAIN
    • FMRI
    • CORTEX

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