Updated on 2024/05/26


AZUMA, Rayna
Faculty of International Research and Education, School of International Liberal Studies
Job title
Associate Professor


  • An fMRI study of facial emotion processing in children and adolescents with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.

    Azuma Rayna, Deeley Quinton, Campbell Linda E, Daly Eileen M, Giampietro Vincent, Brammer Michael J, Murphy Kieran C, Murphy Declan Gm

    An fMRI study of facial emotion processing in children and adolescents with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.   7 ( 1 )  2015  [Refereed]

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    BACKGROUND:22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS, velo-cardio-facial syndrome [VCFS]) is a genetic disorder associated with interstitial deletions of chromosome 22q11.2. In addition to high rates of neuropsychiatric disorders, children with 22q11DS have impairments of face processing, as well as IQ-independent deficits in visuoperceptual function and social and abstract reasoning. These face-processing deficits may contribute to the social impairments of 22q11DS. However, their neurobiological basis is poorly understood.;METHODS:We used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine neural responses when children with 22q11DS (aged 9-17 years) and healthy controls (aged 8-17 years) incidentally processed neutral expressions and mild (50%) and intense (100%) expressions of fear and disgust. We included 28 right-handed children and adolescents: 14 with 22q11DS and 14 healthy (including nine siblings) controls.;RESULTS:Within groups, contrasts showed that individuals significantly activated 'face responsive' areas when viewing neutral faces, including fusiform-extrastriate cortices. Further, within both groups, there was a significant positive linear trend in activation of fusiform-extrastriate cortices and cerebellum to increasing intensities of fear. There were, however, also between-group differences. Children with 22q11DS generally showed reduced activity as compared to controls in brain regions involved in social cognition and emotion processing across emotion types and intensities, including fusiform-extrastriate cortices, anterior cingulate cortex (Brodmann area (BA) 24/32), and superomedial prefrontal cortices (BA 6). Also, an exploratory correlation analysis showed that within 22q11DS children reduced activation was associated with behavioural impairment-social difficulties (measured using the Total Difficulties Score from the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire [SDQ]) were significantly negatively correlated with brain activity during fear and disgust processing (respectively) in the left precentral gyrus (BA 4) and in the left fusiform gyrus (FG, BA 19), right lingual gyrus (BA 18), and bilateral cerebellum.;CONCLUSIONS:Regions involved in face processing, including fusiform-extrastriate cortices, anterior cingulate gyri, and superomedial prefrontal cortices (BA 6), are activated by facial expressions of fearful, disgusted, and neutral expressions in children with 22q11DS but generally to a lesser degree than in controls. Hypoactivation in these regions may partly explain the social impairments of children with 22q11DS.



  • White matter microstructure in 22q11 deletion syndrome: a pilot diffusion tensor imaging and voxel-based morphometry study of children and adolescents

    Frederick Sundram, Linda E. Campbell, Rayna Azuma, Eileen Daly, Oswald J. N. Bloemen, Gareth J. Barker, Xavier Chitnis, Derek K. Jones, Therese van Amelsvoort, Kieran C. Murphy, Declan G. M. Murphy

    JOURNAL OF NEURODEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS   2 ( 2 ) 77 - 92  2010.06  [Refereed]

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    Young people with 22q11 Deletion Syndrome (22q11DS) are at substantial risk for developing psychosis and have significant differences in white matter (WM) volume. However, there are few in vivo studies of both WM microstructural integrity (as measured using Diffusion Tensor (DT)-MRI) and WM volume in the same individual. We used DT-MRI and structural MRI (sMRI) with voxel based morphometry (VBM) to compare, respectively, the fractional anisotropy (FA) and WM volume of 11 children and adolescents with 22q11DS and 12 controls. Also, within 22q11DS we related differences in WM to severity of schizotypy, and polymorphism of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene. People with 22q11DS had significantly lower FA in inter-hemispheric and brainstem and frontal, parietal and temporal lobe regions after covarying for IQ. Significant WM volumetric increases were found in the internal capsule, anterior brainstem and frontal and occipital lobes. There was a significant negative correlation between increased schizotypy scores and reduced WM FA in the right posterior limb of internal capsule and the right body and left splenium of corpus callosum. Finally, the Val allele of COMT was associated with a significant reduction in both FA and volume of WM in the frontal lobes, cingulum and corpus callosum. Young people with 22q11DS have significant differences in both WM microstructure and volume. Also, there is preliminary evidence that within 22q11DS, some regional differences in FA are associated with allelic variation in COMT and may perhaps also be associated with schizotypy.




Research Projects

  • Sex-Related Differences in Brain Function Associated with Facial Emotion Processing: An Event-Related fMRI Study

    Japan Society for the Promotion of Science  Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research

    Project Year :


    AZUMA Reina, DECLAN Murphy, QUINTON Deeley




Internal Special Research Projects

  • 空間作業記憶における男女の脳機能差について


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    計画書にて記述の通り、英国ロンドン・キングスカレッジの精神医学研究所(IoP)にて収集してあった脳イメージデータを、IoP独自の脳データ解析プログラムを使用して解析した。 その結果、空間的作業記憶における脳機能の男女差およびに年齢の影響について以下のことが明らかになった。研究方法:  8歳から40歳までの健常者30人を対象に、機能的磁気共鳴映像法(fMRI)を用いて、空間的作業記憶課題中に於ける脳活動を記録した。被験者のうち半数の15人は男性(8歳から40歳、平均年齢19歳)、残りの15人は女性(9~34歳、平均年齢23歳)であった。この15人ずつのデータを比較することで、空間的作業記憶に於ける脳機能の男女差及び、加齢によるその機能の変化について調査した。結果: 男女両グループともに、空間作業記憶処理に係る脳部位(頭頂葉、後頭葉、後帯状回、運動前野、補足運動野など)の活動が見られたことから、課題・測定の妥当性が確認された。男女比較の結果、女性実験群に於いては、前頭部でより高い脳活動が観察されたのに対し、男性実験群は、頭頂・側頭・辺縁部にてより高い脳活動が見られた。さらに発達曲線に於いても統計的に有意な男女差が見られた。女性は加齢と共に前頭葉をより活動させるようになるのに対し、男性は加齢と共に頭頂・側頭葉をより活動させることが明らかになった。結論: 空間的作業記憶に係る脳機能、及びにその年齢による変化には、有意な男女差が見られる。この男女差の原因として、課題遂行時の方策を含む認知スタイルの違い(男性はより視覚空間の全体像を用いた方策を用いるの対し、女性はより言語解析的方策を用いるなど)や、生物学的な脳部位の発達過程そのものの違いなどが考えられる。