White matter integrity is associated with alcohol cue reactivity in heavy drinkers

Mollie A. Monnig, Rachel E. Thayer, Arvind Caprihan, Eric D. Claus, Ronald A. Yeo, Vince D. Calhoun, Kent E. Hutchison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Neuroimaging studies have shown that white matter damage accompanies excessive alcohol use, but the functional correlates of alcohol-related white matter disruption remain unknown. This study applied tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) to diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data from 332 heavy drinkers (mean age = 31.2 ± 9.4; 31% female) to obtain averaged fractional anisotropy (FA) values of 18 white matter tracts. Statistical analyses examined correlations of FA values with blood-oxygenation-level-dependent (BOLD) response to an alcohol taste cue, measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). FA values of nine white matter tracts (anterior corona radiata, body of corpus callosum, cingulate gyrus, external capsule, fornix, inferior frontooccipital fasciculus, posterior corona radiata, retrolenticular limb of internal capsule, and superior longitudinal fasciculus) were significantly, negatively correlated with BOLD activation in medial frontal gyrus, parahippocampal gyrus, fusiform gyrus, cingulum, thalamus, caudate, putamen, insula, and cerebellum. The inverse relation between white matter integrity and functional activation during the alcohol taste cue provides support for the hypothesis that lower white matter integrity in frontoparietal and corticolimbic networks is a factor in loss of control over alcohol consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-170
Number of pages13
JournalBrain and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol use disorders
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Tract-based spatial statistics
  • White matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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