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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2018 Jun 1;187:186-194. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2018.03.010. Epub 2018 Apr 15.

The relation between gray matter volume and the use of alcohol, tobacco, cocaine and cannabis in male polysubstance users.

Author information

1
Addiction, Development and Psychopathology (ADAPT) Lab, Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Department of Anatomy and Neurosciences, Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research, Amsterdam Neuroscience, VU University Medical Center, The Netherlands; Amsterdam Brain and Cognition, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address: a.m.kaag@uva.nl.
2
Addiction, Development and Psychopathology (ADAPT) Lab, Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Departement of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
3
Departement of Psychiatry, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Leiden University, Faculty of Law, Institute for Criminal Law & Criminology, Leiden, The Netherlands.
4
Amsterdam Brain and Cognition, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Departement of Psychiatry, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
5
Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behaviour, Radboud University, Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
6
Departement of Psychiatry, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
7
Addiction, Development and Psychopathology (ADAPT) Lab, Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Amsterdam Brain and Cognition, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
8
Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Melbourne, Australia; Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Psychiatry, Amsterdam Neuroscience, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
9
Amsterdam Brain and Cognition, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Departement of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Neuroimaging studies have demonstrated gray matter (GM) volume abnormalities in substance users. While the majority of substance users are polysubstance users, very little is known about the relation between GM volume abnormalities and polysubstance use.

METHODS:

In this study we assessed the relation between GM volume, and the use of alcohol, tobacco, cocaine and cannabis as well as the total number of substances used, in a sample of 169 males: 15 non-substance users, 89 moderate drinkers, 27 moderate drinkers who also smoke tobacco, 13 moderate drinkers who also smoke tobacco and use cocaine, 10 heavy drinkers who smoke tobacco and use cocaine and 15 heavy drinkers who smoke tobacco, cannabis and use cocaine.

RESULTS:

Regression analyses showed that there was a negative relation between the number of substances used and volume of the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and the ventral mPFC. Without controlling for the use of other substances, the volume of the dorsal mPFC was negatively associated with the use of alcohol, tobacco, and cocaine. After controlling for the use of other substances, a negative relation was found between tobacco and cocaine and volume of the thalami and ventrolateral PFC, respectively.

CONCLUSION:

These findings indicate that mPFC alterations may not be substance-specific, but rather related to the number of substances used, whereas, thalamic and ventrolateral PFC pathology is specifically associated with tobacco and cocaine use, respectively. These findings are important, as the differential alterations in GM volume may underlie different cognitive deficits associated with substance use disorders.

KEYWORDS:

Alcohol; Cannabis; Cocaine; Gray matter volume; Nicotine; Polysubstance use; Prefrontal cortex; VBM

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