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Test-retest reliability of emotion regulation networks using fMRI at ultra-high magnetic field

Berboth, S., Windischberger, C., Kohn. N., Morawetz, C.

Given the importance of emotion regulation in affective disorders, emotion regulation is at the focus of attempts to identify brain biomarkers of disease risk, treatment response, and brain development. However, to be useful as an indicator for individual characteristics of brain functions – particularly as a biomarker in a clinical context – ensuring reliability is a key challenge.

 

Here, we systematically evaluated test-retest reliability of task-based functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) activity within neural networks associated with emotion generation and regulation across three sessions. Acquiring fMRI data at ultra-high field (7T), we examined region- and voxel-wise test-retest reliability of brain activity in response to a well-established emotion regulation task for predefined region-of-interests (ROIs) implicated in four neural networks.

 

Test-retest reliability varied considerably across the emotion regulation networks and respective ROIs. However, core emotion regulation regions, including the ventrolateral and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (vlPFC and dlPFC) as well as the middle temporal gyrus (MTG) showed high reliability.

 

Our findings thus support the role of these prefrontal and temporal regions as promising candidates for the study of individual differences in emotion regulation as well as for neurobiological biomarkers in clinical neuroscience research.