Brain responsivity to emotional faces differs in men and women with and without a history of alcohol use disorder

Marlene Oscar-Berman, Susan Mosher Ruiz, Ksenija Marinkovic, Mary M. Valmas, Gordon J. Harris, Kayle S. Sawyer, Wi Hoon Jung
2021 PLoS ONE  
Inclusion of women in research on Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) has shown that gender differences contribute to unique profiles of cognitive, emotional, and neuropsychological dysfunction. We employed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of abstinent individuals with a history of AUD (21 women [AUDw], 21 men [AUDm]) and demographically similar non-AUD control (NC) participants without AUD (21 women [NCw], 21 men [NCm]) to explore how gender and AUD interact to influence brain responses
more » ... brain responses during emotional processing and memory. Participants completed a delayed match-to-sample emotional face memory fMRI task, and brain activation contrasts between a fixation stimulus and pictures of emotional face elicited a similar overall pattern of activation for all four groups. Significant Group by Gender interactions revealed two activation clusters. A cluster in an anterior portion of the middle and superior temporal gyrus, elicited lower activation to the fixation stimulus than to faces for the AUDw as compared to the NCw; that abnormality was more pronounced than the one observed for men. Another cluster in the medial portion of the superior frontal cortex elicited higher activation to the faces by AUDm than NCm, a difference that was more evident than the one observed for women. Together, these findings have added new evidence of AUD-related gender differences in neural responses to facial expressions of emotion.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0248831 pmid:34106934 fatcat:ijcrntdq4bhvpnvqxsmne5c5ja