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Journal Article


Cullen KR, Schreiner MW, Klimes-Dougan B, Eberly LE, LaRiviere L, Lim KO, Camchong J, Mueller BA. Prog. Neuropsychopharmacol. Biol. Psychiatry 2019; ePub(ePub): ePub.


University of Minnesota, Medical School, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, United States of America.


(Copyright © 2019, Elsevier Publishing)






Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is a serious clinical problem that is common in adolescents. Novel, biologically-informed approaches for treating NSSI in adolescents are needed to prevent negative outcomes such as chronic NSSI and future suicide attempts. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) has been used successfully to address other conditions that involve repetitive maladaptive behaviors and may have utility in addressing NSSI. This study explored neural circuit changes following an open-label, 8-week trial of NAC in female adolescents with NSSI. We measured whole-brain resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) of the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens before and after treatment using resting-state functional neuroimaging. Usable neuroimaging data from both pre- and post-treatment were available for 18 participants. Reduction in NSSI frequency was associated with a decrease in left amygdala RSFC with right supplementary motor area (SMA), but with an increase in right amygdala RSFC with right inferior frontal cortex. For nucleus accumbens, a reduction in NSSI frequency was associated with a decrease in connectivity between right nucleus accumbens and left superior medial frontal cortex. We also report change in similar circuits accompanying clinical improvement in depression and global psychopathology measures. These preliminary findings suggest amygdala and nucleus accumbens-based circuits as potential treatment targets, and set the stage for future research designed to confirm these neural targets using randomized, placebo-controlled designs to confirm clinical efficacy and mechanisms of effect.

Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Inc.

Language: en


Amygdala; N-acetylcysteine; Non-suicidal self-injury; Resting-state functional connectivity


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