Abnormal neural responses to emotional stimuli in children with primary monosymptomatic nocturnal enuresis


Nocturnal enuresis (NE) is a common disorder in school-aged children that has been reported to affect nearly 10% of 7-year-old children and affects both the children and their families. Previous studies have shown that the risk of psychosocial difficulties in children with enuresis is elevated. Thus, children with NE may experience negative effects on psychosocial health or emotion processing. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the potential disturbance in emotional processing in children with NE using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In this work, we used fMRI and an affective picture task to evaluate brain response changes in children with NE. Two groups, one consisting of 22 children with primary monosymptomatic NE and one with 23 healthy controls, were scanned using fMRI. Compared to the healthy subjects, children with NE mainly showed increased activation when viewing negative vs. neutral pictures in the bilateral medial superior frontal gyrus that extended to the anterior cingulate cortex. Our results demonstrated that children with primary monosymptomatic NE showed abnormal neural responses to emotional stimuli and overactivation in the medial prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices suggested that children with primary monosymptomatic NE may be hypersensitive in their sensory perception of negative pictures.

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This research was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant number 81571658) and the Social Science Foundation of China (Grant number 15ZDB016).

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Correspondence to Jun Ma or Xiaoxia Du.

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Wang, M., Zhang, A., Qin, Z. et al. Abnormal neural responses to emotional stimuli in children with primary monosymptomatic nocturnal enuresis. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 28, 949–956 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-018-1255-4

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  • Nocturnal enuresis
  • fMRI
  • Emotion
  • Brain