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Abnormal intrinsic functional hubs in alcohol dependence: evidence from a voxelwise degree centrality analysis

Authors Luo X, Guo LH, Dai XJ, Wang Q, Zhu W, Miao X, Gong H

Received 27 May 2017

Accepted for publication 27 June 2017

Published 28 July 2017 Volume 2017:13 Pages 2011—2020


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Wai Kwong Tang

Xiaoping Luo,1,2 Linghong Guo,1 Xi-Jian Dai,3 Qinglai Wang,2 Wenzhong Zhu,2 Xinjun Miao,2 Honghan Gong1

1Department of Radiology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, Nangchang, Jiangxi, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Radiology, Wenzhou Chinese Medicine Hospital, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Medical Imaging, Jinling Hospital, Medical School of Nanjing University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, People’s Republic of China

Objective: To explore the abnormal intrinsic functional hubs in alcohol dependence using voxelwise degree centrality analysis approach, and their relationships with clinical features.
Materials and methods: Twenty-four male alcohol dependence subjects free of medicine (mean age, 50.21±9.62 years) and 24 age- and education-matched male healthy controls (mean age, 50.29±8.92 years) were recruited. The alcohol use disorders identification test and the severity of alcohol dependence questionnaire (SADQ) were administered to assess the severity of alcohol craving. Voxelwise degree centrality approach was used to assess the abnormal intrinsic functional hubs features in alcohol dependence. Simple linear regression analysis was performed to investigate the relationships between the clinical features and abnormal intrinsic functional hubs.
Results: Compared with healthy controls, alcohol dependence subjects exhibited significantly different degree centrality values in widespread left lateralization brain areas, including higher degree centrality values in the left precentral gyrus (BA 6), right hippocampus (BA 35, 36), and left orbitofrontal cortex (BA 11) and lower degree centrality values in the left cerebellum posterior lobe, bilateral secondary visual network (BA 18), and left precuneus (BA 7, 19). SADQ revealed a negative linear correlation with the degree centrality value in the left precentral gyrus (R2=0.296, P=0.006).
Conclusion: The specific abnormal intrinsic functional hubs appear to be disrupted by alcohol intoxication, which implicates at least three principal neural systems: including cerebellar, executive control, and visual cortex, which may further affect the normal motor behavior such as an explicit type of impaired driving behavior. These findings expand our understanding of the functional characteristics of alcohol dependence and may provide a new insight into the understanding of the dysfunction and pathophysiology of alcohol dependence.

Keywords: alcohol addiction, substance dependence, degree centrality, functional magnetic resonance imaging, functional connectivity driving behavior

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