Early-life stress exposure associated with altered prefrontal resting-state fMRI connectivity in young children
Early-life stress (ELS) exposure is associated with adverse outcomes across the lifespan. We examined the relation of ELS exposure to resting-state fMRI in children ages 4-7 years. ELS in the first years of life, but not concurrent, was associated with higher regional homogeneity of resting-state fMRI in the left lateral frontal cortex. Resting-state fMRI functional connectivity analyses showed that the region of left lateral frontal cortex demonstrating heightened regional homogeneity associated with ELS was negatively correlated with right temporal/parahippocampal areas. Moreover, higher regional homogeneity in the left lateral frontal cortex and its negative coupling with the right middle temporal/parahippocampal areas were associated with poorer performance on a reversal-learning task performed outside the scanner. Association of ELS exposure with regional homogeneity was independent of other early adversities. These findings suggest that ELS may influence the development of cognitive control in the lateral prefrontal cortex and its interactions with temporal cortex.