Little is known about the relationship between the long-term hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis functioning and brain structure in children. Glucocorticoid in hair has emerged as an important biomarker of HPA activity. In this study, we investigated the associations of hair cortisol and cortisone concentrations with brain morphology in young children. We included 219 children aged 6–10 years from the Generation R Study in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. We examined cortisol and cortisone concentrations by hair analysis using liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry, and assessed brain morphometric measures with structural magnetic resonance imaging. The relationships of hair cortisol and cortisone concentrations with brain volumetrics, cortical thickness, cortical surface area and gyrification were analyzed separately after adjustment for several potential confounding factors. We observed a positive association between cortisol concentrations and cortical surface area in the parietal lobe, positive associations of cortisone concentrations with thalamus volume, occipital lobe volume and cortical surface area in the parietal lobe, and a negative association between cortisone concentrations and cortical surface area in the temporal lobe in the regions of interest analyses. A negative association between cortisol or cortisone concentrations and hippocampal volume was observed in children with behavioral problems. The whole brain vertex-wise analyses did however not show any association between cortisol or cortisone concentration and brain morphometric measures after correction for multiple testing. Although some associations are noted in region of interest analyses, we do not observe clear association

Additional Metadata
Keywords Child, Hair, Cortisol, Cortisone. Brain morphology
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2016.08.023, hdl.handle.net/1765/113554
Journal Psychoneuroendocrinology
Citation
Chen, R, Muetzel, R.L, El Marroun, H, Noppe, G, van Rossum, E.F., Jaddoe, V.W.V, … Tiemeier, H.W. (2016). No association between hair cortisol or cortisone and brain morphology in children. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 74, 101–110. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2016.08.023