Adult Attachment System Links With Brain Mu Opioid Receptor Availability In Vivo

Otto Turtonen, Aino Saarinen, Lauri Nummenmaa, Lauri Tuominen, Maria Tikka, Reetta-Liina Armio, Airi Hautamäki, Heikki Laurikainen, Olli Raitakari, Liisa Keltikangas-Järvinen, Jarmo Hietala

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikelVetenskapligPeer review


BACKGROUND: Secure attachment is important in maintaining an individual's health and well-being. Attachment disturbances increase the risk for developing psychiatric disorders such as affective disorders. Yet, the neurobiological correlates of human attachment are poorly understood at the neurotransmitter level. We investigated whether adult attachment style is linked to functioning of the opioid and serotonergic systems in the human brain.

METHODS: We used positron emission tomography with radioligands [C-11]carfentanil and [C-11]MADAM to quantify mu opioid receptor (n = 39) and serotonin transporter (n = 37) availability in volunteers with no current psychiatric disorders. Attachment style was determined according to the Dynamic-Maturational Model of Attachment and Adaptation with the structured Adult Attachment Interview.

RESULTS: Secure attachment was associated with higher mu opioid receptor availability in the hippocampus, amygdala, thalamus, and prefrontal cortex when compared with insecure (i.e., avoidant or ambivalent groups combined) attachment. In contrast, attachment style was not associated with serotonin transporter availability.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results provide preliminary in vivo evidence that the opioid system may be involved in the neurocircuits associated with individual differences in adult attachment behavior. The results suggest that variation in mu opioid receptor availability may be linked with the individuals' social relationships and psychosocial well-being and thus contributes to risk for psychiatric morbidity.
TidskriftBiological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging
Sidor (från-till)360-369
Antal sidor10
StatusPublicerad - mar 2021
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


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