Neural correlates of reactive aggression in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and comorbid disruptive behaviour disorders

S. Bubenzer-Busch, B. Herpertz-Dahlmann, B. Kuzmanovic, T.J. Gaber, K. Helmbold, M.G. Ullisch, D. Baurmann, S.B. Eickhoff, G.R. Fink, Florian Zepf

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    © 2016 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Objective: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is often linked with impulsive and aggressive behaviour, indexed by high comorbidity rates between ADHD and disruptive behaviour disorders (DBD). The present study aimed to investigate underlying neural activity of reactive aggression in children with ADHD and comorbid DBD using functional neuroimaging techniques (fMRI). Method: Eighteen boys with ADHD (age 9-14 years, 10 subjects with comorbid DBD) and 18 healthy controls were administered a modified fMRI-based version of the 'Point Subtraction Aggression Game' to elicit reactive aggressive behaviour. Trials consisted of an 'aggression phase' (punishment for a fictitious opponent) and an 'outcome phase' (presentation of the trial outcome). Results: During the aggression phase, higher aggressive responses of control children were accompanied by higher activation of the ventral anterior cingulate cortex and the temporoparietal junction. Patients displayed inverted results. During the outcome phase, comparison between groups and conditions showed differential activation in the dorsal striatum and bilateral insular when subjects gained points. Losing points was accompanied by differential activation of regions belonging to the insula and the middle temporal sulcus. Conclusion: Data support the hypothesis that deficient inhibitory control mechanisms are related to increased impulsive aggressive behaviour in young people with ADHD and comorbid DBD.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)310-323
    JournalActa Psychiatrica Scandinavica
    Volume133
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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