Dev Cogn Neurosci. 2024 May 11;67:101389. doi: 10.1016/j.dcn.2024.101389. Online ahead of print.


Impulsivity undergoes a normative developmental trajectory from childhood to adulthood and is thought to be driven by maturation of brain structure. However, few large-scale studies have assessed associations between impulsivity, brain structure, and genetic susceptibility in children. In 9112 children ages 9-10 from the ABCD study, we explored relationships among impulsivity (UPPS-P impulsive behavior scale; delay discounting), brain structure (cortical thickness (CT), cortical volume (CV), and cortical area (CA)), and polygenic scores for externalizing behavior (PGSEXT). Both higher UPPS-P total scores and more severe delay-discounting had widespread, low-magnitude associations with smaller CA in frontal and temporal regions. No associations were seen between impulsivity and CV or CT. Additionally, higher PGSEXT was associated with both higher UPPS-P scores and with smaller CA and CV in frontal and temporal regions, but in non-overlapping cortical regions, underscoring the complex interplay between genetics and brain structure in influencing impulsivity. These findings indicate that, within large-scale population data, CA is significantly yet weakly associated with each of these impulsivity measures and with polygenic risk for externalizing behaviors, but in distinct brain regions. Future work should longitudinally assess these associations through adolescence, and examine associated functional outcomes, such as future substance use and psychopathology.

PMID:38749217 | DOI:10.1016/j.dcn.2024.101389