Cerebellar gray matter volume correlates with duration of cocaine use in cocaine-dependent subjects

Minyoung E Sim, In Kyoon Lyoo, Chris C Streeter, Julie Covell, Ofra Sarid-Segal, Domenic A Ciraulo, Minue J Kim, Marc J Kaufman, Deborah A Yurgelun-Todd, Perry F Renshaw
Neuropsychopharmacology 2007, 32 (10): 2229-37
This study was conducted to explore differences in gray and white matter volume between cocaine-dependent and healthy comparison subjects using optimized voxel-based morphometry (VBM). Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and neuropsychological function tests were performed for 40 cocaine-dependent subjects (41.4+/-6.9 years, 27 men) and 41 healthy age- and sex-matched comparison subjects (38.7+/-8.8 years, 26 men). Optimally normalized whole brain MR images were segmented, modulated, smoothed, and compared between groups with statistical parametric mapping. The cocaine-dependent group had lower gray matter volumes in bilateral premotor cortex (Brodmann area (BA) 6, 8; 16.6%), right orbitofrontal cortex (BA 10, 15.1%), bilateral temporal cortex (BA 20, 38; 15.9%), left thalamus (12.6%), and bilateral cerebellum (13.4%) as well as lower right cerebellar white matter volume (10.0%) relative to the comparison group at a corrected p<0.05 for multiple comparisons. Duration of cocaine use negatively correlated with right and left cerebellar gray matter volumes (r=-0.37, r=-0.39, respectively). In cocaine-dependent subjects, lower cerebellar hemispheric gray and white matter volumes were correlated with deficits in executive function and decreased motor performance. This study reports that cocaine-dependent subjects have lower gray matter volumes in cerebellar hemispheres as well as in frontal, temporal cortex, and thalamus. These findings are the first to suggest that the cerebellum may be vulnerable to cocaine-associated brain volume changes, and that cerebellar deficits may contribute to neuropsychological deficits and motor dysfunction frequently observed in cocaine-dependent subjects.

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