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Effects of childhood maltreatment on social cognition and brain functional connectivity in borderline personality disorder patients

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  • Xochitl Duque, Instituto de Seguridad y Servicios Sociales de los Trabajadores del Estado (ISSSTE), Mexico
  • Ruth Alcala
  • ,
  • Jorge J. Gonzalez-Olvera, Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatría "Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz", Mexico
  • Eduardo A. Garza-Villarreal
  • Francisco Pellicer, Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatría "Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz", Mexico
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of impulsivity, affective instability, and difficulty to establish and manage interpersonal relationships. However, little is known about its etiology and neurobiological substrates. In our study, we wanted to investigate the influence of child abuse in the psychopathology of BPD by means of social cognitive paradigms (the Movie for the Assessment of Social Cognition (MASC) and the reading the mind in the eyes test (RMET)), and resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI). For this, we recruited 33 participants, 18 BPD patients and 15 controls. High levels of self-reported childhood maltreatment were reported by BPD patients. For the sexual abuse subdimension, there were no differences between the BPD and the control groups, but there was a negative correlation between MASC scores and total childhood maltreatment levels, as well as between physical abuse, physical negligence, and MASC. Both groups showed that the higher the level of childhood maltreatment, the lower the performance on the MASC social cognitive test. Further, in the BPD group, there was hypoconnectivity between the structures responsible for emotion regulation and social cognitive responses that have been described as part of the frontolimbic circuitry (i.e. amygdala). Differential levels of connectivity, associated with different types and levels of abuse, were also observed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 3 Apr 2019

    Research areas

  • childhood, violence, borderline, psychiatry, neuroimaging, masc, fmri

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