Regional homogeneity changes in heroin-dependent individuals: resting-state functional MR imaging study

Ying-Wei Qiu, Lu-Jun Han, Xiao-Fei Lv, Gui-Hua Jiang, Jun-Zhang Tian, Fu-Zhen Zhuo, Huan-Huan Su, Chu-Lan Lin, Xue-Lin Zhang
Radiology 2011, 261 (2): 551-9

PURPOSE: To identify heroin-related modulations of neural activity in the resting state in heroin-dependent individuals (HDIs) by using resting-state functional magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and a regional homogeneity method and to investigate whether these changes of neural activity can be related to duration of heroin use and to decision-making deficits in HDIs.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This prospective study was approved by the appropriate ethics committee, and written informed consent was obtained from each participant. Thirty-one HDIs receiving methadone-maintained treatment and 24 control subjects participated. Resting-state functional MR imaging was performed by using a gradient-echo echo-planar imaging sequence. Regional homogeneity was calculated by using software. Voxel-based analysis of the regional homogeneity maps between control and HDI groups was performed with two-sample t tests by using software. Statistical maps were set at P less than .05 and were corrected for multiple comparisons. The Iowa gambling task (IGT) was used to assess participant decision making during uncertainty. Abnormal clusters revealed by group comparison were extracted and correlated with behavioral performance at the IGT and with duration of heroin use.

RESULTS: Regional homogeneity was diminished in the bilateral medial orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), bilateral dorsal medial thalamus, bilateral cuneus, and lingual gyrus in HDIs compared with control subjects. There were negative correlations between mean regional homogeneity in the medial OFC, bilateral cuneus, and lingual gyrus and duration of heroin use. There was a positive correlation between mean regional homogeneity in the medial OFC and performance level at the IGT.

CONCLUSION: The present study reveals resting-state abnormalities in HDIs that may lead to further improvement of the understanding of the neural substrates of cognitive impairment in HDIs.

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