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Minority Stress and the Effects on Emotion Processing in Transgender Men and Cisgender People: A Study Combining fMRI and 1H-MRS.

Authors
  • Kiyar, Meltem1
  • Kubre, Mary-Ann1
  • Collet, Sarah2
  • Bhaduri, Sourav1, 3
  • T'Sjoen, Guy2
  • Guillamon, Antonio4
  • Mueller, Sven C1
  • 1 Department of Experimental Clinical and Health Psychology, Ghent University, Belgium. , (Belgium)
  • 2 Department of Endocrinology, Ghent University Hospital, Belgium. , (Belgium)
  • 3 Department of Molecular and Clinical Cancer Medicine, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
  • 4 Department of Psychobiology, National Distance Education University, Madrid, Spain. , (Spain)
Type
Published Article
Journal
The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Publication Date
May 27, 2022
Volume
25
Issue
5
Pages
350–360
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1093/ijnp/pyab090
PMID: 34878531
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Minority stress via discrimination, stigmatization, and exposure to violence can lead to development of mood and anxiety disorders and underlying neurobiochemical changes. To date, the neural and neurochemical correlates of emotion processing in transgender people (and their interaction) are unknown. This study combined functional magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance spectroscopy to uncover the effects of anxiety and perceived stress on the neural and neurochemical substrates, specifically choline, on emotion processing in transgender men. Thirty transgender men (TM), 30 cisgender men, and 35 cisgender women passively viewed angry, neutral, happy, and surprised faces in the functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner, underwent a magnetic resonance spectroscopy scan, and filled out mood- and anxiety-related questionnaires. As predicted, choline levels modulated the relationship between anxiety and stress symptoms and the neural response to angry and surprised (but not happy faces) in the amygdala. This was the case only for TM but not cisgender comparisons. More generally, neural responses in the left amygdala, left middle frontal gyrus, and medial frontal gyrus to emotional faces in TM resembled that of cisgender women. These results provide first evidence, to our knowledge, of a critical interaction between levels of analysis and that choline may influence neural processing of emotion in individuals prone to minority stress. © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of CINP.

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