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Aberrant regional brain activities in alcohol dependence: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study

Authors Tu XZ, Wang JJ, Liu XM, Zheng JY

Received 27 November 2017

Accepted for publication 8 February 2018

Published 22 March 2018 Volume 2018:14 Pages 847—853


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Wai Kwong Tang

Xianzhu Tu,1 Juanjuan Wang,2 Xuming Liu,3 Jiyong Zheng4

1Department of Psychiatry, Seventh People’s Hospital of Wenzhou City, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Neurology, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Radiology, The Third Clinical Institute Affiliated to Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, People’s Republic of China; 4Department of Medical Imaging, The Affiliated Huai’an No 1 People’s Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Huai’an, Jiangsu, People’s Republic of China

Objective: Whether moderate alcohol consumption has health benefits remains controversial, but the harmful effects of excessive alcohol consumption on behavior and brain function are well recognized. The aim of this study was to investigate alcohol-induced regional brain activities and their relationships with behavioral factors.
Subjects and methods:
A total of 29 alcohol-dependent subjects (9 females and 20 males) and 29 status-matched healthy controls (11 females and 18 males) were recruited. Severity of alcohol dependence questionnaire (SADQ) and alcohol use disorders identification test (AUDIT) were used to evaluate the severity of alcohol craving. Regional homogeneity (ReHo) analysis was used to explore the alcohol-induced regional brain changes. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was used to investigate the ability of regional brain activities to distinguish alcohol-dependent subjects from healthy controls. Pearson correlations were used to investigate the relationships between alcohol-induced ReHo differences and behavioral factors.
Results: Alcohol-dependent subjects related to healthy controls showed higher ReHo areas in the right superior frontal gyrus (SFG), bilateral medial frontal gyrus (MFG), left precentral gyrus (PG), bilateral middle temporal gyrus (MTG), and right inferior temporal gyrus (ITG) and lower ReHo areas in the right cerebellum posterior lobe (CPL), left rectal gyrus (RG), and right cluster of pons and cerebellum anterior lobe (CAL). ROC curve revealed high area under the curve (AUC) values (mean ± SD: 0.864 ± 0.028; range: 0.828–0.911) of ReHo differences. Diagnostic analysis showed that these areas alone discriminated alcohol-dependent subjects from healthy controls with high degree of sensitivities (mean ± SD: 81.25% ± 11.49%; range: 62.5%–100%) and specificities (mean ± SD: 81.75% ± 12.36%; range: 67.5%–100%). Years of drink showed negative correlation with left RG (r = -0.493, p = 0.007), the same finding was shown between AUDIT and right CPL (r = -0.52, p = 0.004).
Conclusion: Alcohol dependence is associated with aberrant regional activities in multiple brain areas. ReHo analysis may be a useful biological indicator for the detection of regional brain activities in individuals with alcohol dependence.

Keywords: alcohol dependence, regional homogeneity, receiver operating characteristic

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