Neuroticism in temporal lobe epilepsy is associated with altered limbic-frontal lobe resting-state functional connectivity


Neuroscience Innovation Institute, Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center


Neuroticism, a core personality trait characterized by a tendency towards experiencing negative affect, has been reported to be higher in people with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) compared with healthy individuals. Neuroticism is a known predictor of depression and anxiety, which also occur more frequently in people with TLE. The purpose of this study was to identify abnormalities in whole-brain resting-state functional connectivity in relation to neuroticism in people with TLE and to determine the degree of unique versus shared patterns of abnormal connectivity in relation to elevated symptoms of depression and anxiety. Ninety-three individuals with TLE (55 females) and 40 healthy controls (18 females) from the Epilepsy Connectome Project (ECP) completed measures of neuroticism, depression, and anxiety, which were all significantly higher in people with TLE compared with controls. Resting-state functional connectivity was compared between controls and groups with TLE with high and low neuroticism using analysis of variance (ANOVA) and t-test. In secondary analyses, the same analytics were performed using measures of depression and anxiety and the unique variance in resting-state connectivity associated with neuroticism independent of symptoms of depression and anxiety identified. Increased neuroticism was significantly associated with hyposynchrony between the right hippocampus and Brodmann area (BA) 9 (region of prefrontal cortex (PFC)) (p < 0.005), representing a unique relationship independent of symptoms of depression and anxiety. Hyposynchrony of connection between the right hippocampus and BA47 (anterior frontal operculum) was associated with high neuroticism and with higher depression and anxiety scores (p < 0.05), making it a shared abnormal connection for the three measures. In conclusion, increased neuroticism exhibits both unique and shared patterns of abnormal functional connectivity with depression and anxiety symptoms between regions of the mesial temporal and frontal lobe.

Document Type


PubMed ID


Link to Full Text