BackgroundPremenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is an understudied, debilitating disorder of women. Given evidence for prefrontal cortical and limbic dysfunction in PMDD, we compared intrinsic connectivity of the executive control network (ECN), default mode network (DMN), and amygdala in women with PMDD vs. controls.
MethodsThirty-six women (18 PMDD, 18 control) participated in fMRI during the follicular and luteal phases of the menstrual cycle. At each time, resting-state functional connectivity was evaluated both before and after participants performed an emotion regulation task. The ECN was identified using independent components analysis, and connectivity of left and right amygdala seeds was also evaluated.
ResultsNonparametric permutation testing identified a cluster in the left middle temporal gyrus (MTG) with significantly stronger connectivity to the left ECN in women with PMDD vs. controls in all four fMRI sessions. Women with PMDD exhibited no difference in functional connectivity between menstrual cycle phases. Amygdala connectivity did not differ between the groups but differed significantly with menstrual phase, with left amygdala connectivity to cingulate cortex being significantly stronger during the follicular vs. luteal phase. Right amygdala connectivity to the middle frontal gyrus was also stronger during the follicular vs. luteal phase, with no group differences. These findings suggest that women with PMDD have different intrinsic network dynamics in the left executive control network compared to healthy controls.