Structural atrophy of the right superior frontal gyrus in adolescents with severe irritability

Ji Woo Seok, Sahil Bajaj, Brigette Soltis-Vaughan, Arica Lerdahl, William Garvey, Alexandra Bohn, Ryan Edwards, Christopher J. Kratochvil, James Blair, Soonjo Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Severe irritability is common in youths with psychiatric disorders and results in significant dysfunction across domains (academic, social, and familial). Prior structural MRI studies in the pediatric population demonstrated that aberrations of cortical thickness (CT) and gray matter volume (GMV) in the fronto-striatal-temporal regions which have been associated with irritability. However, the directions of the correlations between structural alteration and irritability in the individual indices were not consistent. Thus, we aim to address this by implementing comprehensive assessments of CT, GMV, and local gyrification index (LGI) simultaneously in youths with severe levels of irritability by voxel-based morphometry and surface-based morphometry. One hundred and eight adolescents (46 youths with severe irritability and 62 healthy youths, average age = 14.08 years, standard deviation = 2.36) were scanned with a T1-weighted MRI sequence. The severity of irritability was measured using the affective reactivity index. In youths with severe irritability, there was decreased CT, GMV, and LGI in the right superior frontal gyrus (SFG) compared to healthy youths, and negative correlations between these indices of the SFG and irritability. Our findings suggest that structural deficits in the SFG, potentially related to its role in inhibitory control, may be critical for the neurobiology of irritability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4611-4622
Number of pages12
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number14
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021


  • cortical thickness
  • gray matter volume
  • gyrification
  • insula
  • superior frontal gyrus
  • superior temporal gyrus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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