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Alterations of Subcortical Brain Structures in Paradoxical and Psychophysiological Insomnia Disorder

Farnoosh Emamian, Mostafa Mahdipour, Khadijeh Noori, Masoumeh Rostampour, S. Bentolhoda Mousavi, Habibolah Khazaie, Mohammadreza Khodaie-Ardakani, , Mojtaba Zarei
Published: 7 May 2021
Frontiers in Psychiatry , Volume 12; doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2021.661286

Abstract: Insomnia disorder (ID) is a common illness associated with mood and cognitive impairments. Subtyping ID is an ongoing debate in sleep medicine, but the underlying mechanisms of each subtype is poorly understood. Growing evidence suggests that subcortical brain structures play the key roles in pathophysiology of ID and its subtypes. Here, we aimed to investigate structural alteration of subcortical regions in patients with two common ID subtypes i.e., paradoxical and psychophysiological insomnia. Fifty-five patients and 49 healthy controls were recruited for this study and T1-weighted images and subjective and objective sleep parameters (i.e., Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and polysomnography) were collected from participants. Subcortical structures including the hippocampus, amygdala, caudate, putamen, globus pallidus, nucleus accumbens, and thalamus were automatically segmented in FSL. Volume and shape (using surface vertices) of each structure were compared between the groups, controlled for covariates, and corrected for multiple comparisons. In addition, correlations of sleep parameters and surface vertices or volumes were calculated. The caudate's volume was smaller in patients than controls. Compared with controls, we found regional shrinkage in the caudate, nucleus accumbens, posterior putamen, hippocampus, thalamus, and amygdala in paradoxical insomnia and shrinkage in the amygdala, caudate, hippocampus, and putamen in psychophysiological insomnia. Interestingly, comparing two patients groups, shape alteration in the caudate, putamen, and nucleus accumbens in paradoxical insomnia and shrinkage in the thalamus, amygdala, and hippocampus in psychophysiological insomnia were observed. Both subjective and objective sleep parameters were associated with these regional shape alterations in patients. Our results support the differential role of subcortical brain structures in pathophysiology of paradoxical and psychophysiological insomnia.
Keywords: insomnia disorder / Shape Analysis / grey matter volume / paradoxical insomnia / psychophysiological insomnia / Subcortical brain structures

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