Altered White Matter Integrity in Adolescent Binge Drinkers

VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, California, USA.
Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research (Impact Factor: 3.21). 05/2009; 33(7):1278-85. DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2009.00953.x
Source: PubMed


White matter integrity has been found to be compromised in adult alcoholics, but it is unclear when in the course of alcohol exposure white matter abnormalities become apparent. This study assessed microstructural white matter integrity among adolescent binge drinkers with no history of an alcohol use disorder.
We used diffusion tensor imaging to examine fractional anisotropy (FA), a measure of directional coherence of white matter tracts, among teens with (n = 14) and without (n = 14) histories of binge drinking but no history of alcohol use disorder, matched on age, gender, and education.
Binge drinkers had lower FA than controls in 18 white matter areas (clusters > or =27 contiguous voxels, each with p < 0.01) throughout the brain, including the corpus callosum, superior longitudinal fasciculus, corona radiata, internal and external capsules, and commissural, limbic, brainstem, and cortical projection fibers, while exhibiting no areas of higher FA. Among binge drinkers, lower FA in 6 of these regions was linked to significantly greater lifetime hangover symptoms and/or higher estimated peak blood alcohol concentrations.
Binge drinking adolescents demonstrated widespread reductions of FA in major white matter pathways. Although preliminary, these results could indicate that infrequent exposure to large doses of alcohol during youth may compromise white matter fiber coherence.

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Available from: Lawrence Frank, Mar 21, 2014
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    • "The pre-existing atlas was registered to the population average and the accompanying segmentation into seven regions of interest, which included the amygdala, cerebellum, corpus callosum, hippocampus, hypothalamus, neocortex and striatum, were propagated along these computed deformation fields, first to the population average and then to the individual subjects. Of these regions, we focused our analyses on the cerebellum, corpus callosum, hippocampus and neocortex (see Fig. 2b), as these brain regions are typically reported as vulnerable to the effects of alcoholism in the human literature (De Bellis et al. 2000, 2005; McQueeny et al. 2009; Lisdahl et al. 2013). Rigorous quality control was performed after each step to ensure automatic processing performance was satisfactory. "
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    ABSTRACT: Adolescence is characterized by considerable brain maturation that coincides with the development of adult behavior. Binge drinking is common during adolescence and can have deleterious effects on brain maturation because of the heightened neuroplasticity of the adolescent brain. Using an animal model of adolescent intermittent ethanol [AIE; 5.0 g/kg, intragastric, 20 percent EtOH w/v; 2 days on/2 days off from postnatal day (P)25 to P55], we assessed the adult brain structural volumes and integrity on P80 and P220 using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). While we did not observe a long-term effect of AIE on structural volumes, AIE did reduce axial diffusivity (AD) in the cerebellum, hippocampus and neocortex. Radial diffusivity (RD) was reduced in the hippocampus and neocortex of AIE-treated animals. Prior AIE treatment did not affect fractional anisotropy (FA), but did lead to long-term reductions of mean diffusivity (MD) in both the cerebellum and corpus callosum. AIE resulted in increased anxiety-like behavior and diminished object recognition memory, the latter of which was positively correlated with DTI measures. Across aging, whole brain volumes increased, as did volumes of the corpus callosum and neocortex. This was accompanied by age-associated AD reductions in the cerebellum and neocortex as well as RD and MD reductions in the cerebellum. Further, we found that FA increased in both the cerebellum and corpus callosum as rats aged from P80 to P220. Thus, both age and AIE treatment caused long-term changes to brain structural integrity that could contribute to cognitive dysfunction. © 2015 Society for the Study of Addiction.
    Addiction Biology 02/2015; DOI:10.1111/adb.12232 · 5.36 Impact Factor
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    • "The neurobiological effects of binge drinking include cognitive impairments in the domains of attention, working memory and executive function (Weissenborn & Duka 2003; Townshend & Duka 2005; Parada et al. 2012). Volumetric alterations have been found in binge drinkers, particularly in cerebellar and frontal cortices (McQueeny et al. 2009; Squeglia et al. 2012; Lisdahl et al. 2013). We have also previously shown that college-age binge drinkers have greater ventral striatal volume relative to healthy volunteers. "
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    • "Studies examining WM in substance abusing adolescents offer equivocal findings. In adolescent substance abusers, both reductions (Bava et al., 2009; Jacobus et al., 2009; McQueeny et al., 2009) and increases (De Bellis et al., 2008; Bava et al., 2009; Cardenas et al., 2013) in FA have been observed. Differences in AD were also inconsistent between studies, with AD reductions (Ashtari et al., 2009; Thatcher et al., 2010) and increases (Bava et al., 2013) found in participants with substance abuse. "
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