Reduced cortical surface area in adolescents with conduct disorder.


Children with conduct disorder (CD) are at increased risk of developing antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy in adulthood. Neuroimaging research has identified abnormal cortical volume (CV) in CD. However, CV comprises two genetically and developmentally separable components: cortical thickness (CT) and surface area (SA). Aim of this study is to explore the relationship between the cortical constituents of CV in boys with CD. We applied FreeSurfer software to structural MRI data to derive measures of CV, CT, and SA in 21 boys with CD and 19 controls. Relationships between these cortical measures were investigated. Boys with CD had significantly reduced CV and SA compared to non-CD boys in ventromedial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. We found no significant between-group differences in CT. Reduced prefrontal CV in boys with CD is associated with significantly reduced SA in the same regions. This finding may help to identify specific neurodevelopmental mechanisms underlying cortical deficits observed in CD.