Neural systems for social cognition in Klinefelter syndrome (47.XXY): evidence from fMRI

S. van Rijn, H Swaab, D Baas, E de Haan, R.S. Kahn, A. Aleman

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Abstract

Klinefelter syndrome (KS) is a chromosomal condition (47, XXY) that may help us to unravel gene-brain behavior pathways to psychopathology. The phenotype includes social cognitive impairments and increased risk for autism traits. We used functional MRI to study neural mechanisms underlying social information processing. Eighteen nonclinical controls and thirteen men with XXY were scanned during judgments of faces with regard to trustworthiness and age. While judging faces as untrustworthy in comparison to trustworthy, men with XXY displayed less activation than controls in (i) the amygdala, which plays a key role in screening information for socio-emotional significance, (ii) the insula, which plays a role in subjective emotional experience, as well as (iii) the fusiform gyrus and (iv) the superior temporal sulcus, which are both involved in the perceptual processing of faces and which were also less involved during age judgments in men with XXY. This is the first study showing that KS can be associated with reduced involvement of the neural network subserving social cognition. Studying KS may increase our understanding of the genetic and hormonal basis of neural dysfunctions contributing to abnormalities in social cognition and behavior, which are considered core abnormalities in psychiatric disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)689-697
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Volume7
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2012

Keywords

  • X chromosome
  • social cognition
  • autism
  • schizophrenia
  • amygdala
  • Klinefelter
  • OF-THE-LITERATURE
  • SEX-DIFFERENCES
  • HUMAN AMYGDALA
  • TESTOSTERONE LEVELS
  • FACE PERCEPTION
  • AUTISM
  • BRAIN
  • XXY
  • SCHIZOPHRENIA
  • CHROMOSOME

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