Dissertation > Medicine, health > Neurology and psychiatry > Psychiatry > Personality disorder

The Relationship between Testosterone and Mental Rotation Performance in Young Men with Schizotypal Personality Disorder: an fMRI Study

Author GaiQiong
Tutor SunYueJi
School Dalian Medical University
Course Applied Psychology
Keywords schizotypal personality disorder(SPD) testosterone visuo-spatial ability fMRI
CLC R749.91
Type Master's thesis
Year 2013
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Background: it has been reported that sex steroid hormones play an important rolein visuo-spatial ability in the general population, particularly, testosterone was reportedto be related with visuo-spatial ability. Several studies have attempted to investigate theassociation between the levels of testosterone with brain activations during mentalrotation in schizophrenia, results revealed deficit on performance in men withschizophrenia and the dysfunction of brain during mental rotation. Schizotypalpersonality disorder(SPD) was defined by the genetically relationship to schizophrenia.In this study, we attempt to evaluate the visuo-spatial ability in young men withschizotypal personality disorder and the brain activation during mental rotation, seekingto unveil the potential effects of testosterone on specific brain regions which are relatedto the spatial ability in schizophrenia spectrum disorders.Objective:1the purpose of the present study was to investigate the performanceof spatial task in young men with schizotyal personality disorder and the brainactivation during the task,2examine the relationship between testosterone and cerebralactivation during mental rotation.Methods:17young men with schizotypal personality disorder and17healthyyoung men participated in this study. Blood was taken from all the subjects to thedetermination of testosterone. All the subjects were tested for spatial ability outside thescanner using a redrawn mental rotation test (MRT-A, Peters et al.,1995). A3.0Teslamagnetic resonance imaging system was used during performance of the mental rotationtask, the stimuli were presented with E-prime Software(classical3D block pictures), therotate condition alternated with the non-rotate condition. The functional MRI datawere analyzed using SPM8standard routines, and the ROIs(region of interest) were alsoanalyzed. Results:(1) As compared to the control group, the mean serum level oftestosterone was significantly higher in the SPD group.(2) There’s no significant difference between the two groups on the mental rotationperformance.(3) Rotate condition VS non-rotate condition: SPD group showed significantactivations in inferior parietal lobule, precuneus, middle frontal gyrus, inferior frontalgyrus, medial frontal gyrus, cerebellum posterior lobe, cerebellum anterior lobe andthalamus. Healthy young men showed significant activations in precuneus, inferiorparietal lobule, middle frontal gyrus, inferior frontal gyrus, cerebellum anterior lobe,insula and thalamus.(4) Comparisons between groups during mental rotation versus control task: SPDyoung men, compared to healthy young men, demonstrated significant activations insuperior frontal gyrus, middle frontal gyrus, inferior frontal gyrus and temporal lobe.Healthy young men, compared to SPD young men, demonstrated significant activationsin insula, temporal lobe and cingulate gyrus.(5) In the SPD group, there was a significant positive relationship between levelsof testosterone and cerebral activations in middle frontal gyrus during mental rotation.But in the control group, there was no similar relationship.Conclusions: Our results confirmed previously reported brain activation patternsin general population, the activation patterns in young men with schizotypal personalitydisorder suggest potential demasculinization of the brain. The elevated testosteronelevels probably associated with the change of activation patterns in men withschizotypal personality disorder, indicating that testosterone may modulate the braindevelopment of young men with schizotypal personality disorder. Further research isrequired to test these findings.

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