Negative life stress, sleep disturbance, and depressive symptoms: The moderating role of anterior insula activity in response to sleep-related stimuli

Sun Young Kim, Kyung Hwa Lee, Hayoung Lee, Jeong Eun Jeon, Mi Hyun Lee, Jooyoung Lee, Seong Min Oh, Yu Jin Lee, Seog Ju Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: This study investigated the effects of anterior insula (AI) activation on the association between stress and sleep disturbance as a neurobiological basis of the trait-like degree of sleep reactivity to stress. Additionally, it examined the effects of AI activity on the association between sleep disturbance and depression. Methods: The participants were 48 adults. To assess AI activation in response to sleep-related stimuli (SS) compared to neutral stimuli (NS), we extracted mean AI parameter estimates for the SS–NS contrast. We examined whether the interaction between life stress and AI activation would predict sleep disturbance and whether the interaction between sleep disturbance and AI activation would predict depression. Results: At higher levels of bilateral AI activation in response to SS, higher levels of stress were associated with greater sleep disturbance (left AI x stress: b = 1.07, SE = 0.44, p < 0.05; right AI x stress: b = 1.05, SE = 0.48, p < 0.05). In addition, at higher levels of right AI activation, higher levels of sleep disturbance were associated with more severe depressive symptoms (right AI x sleep disturbance: b = 2.55, SE = 1.10, p < 0.05). Limitation: This study assessed sleep quality and depressive symptoms based on self-reported questionnaires. Conclusion: This study revealed moderating effects of AI activation on the association between negative life stress and sleep disturbance. Additionally, AI activation strengthened the association between sleep disturbance and depression. AI activation may reflect a crucial etiological diathesis for insomnia and stress-related disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-558
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume299
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Feb 2022

Keywords

  • Anterior insula
  • Depression
  • Functional MRI
  • Sleep reactivity
  • Sleep-related stimuli

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