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Biol Psychiatry Cogn Neurosci Neuroimaging. 2018 Oct;3(10):868-877. doi: 10.1016/j.bpsc.2018.04.008. Epub 2018 May 3.

Thalamic Cortical Error-Related Responses in Adult Social Drinkers: Sex Differences and Problem Alcohol Use.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut. Electronic address: jaime.ide@yale.edu.
2
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.
3
Department of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut; VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, Connecticut.
4
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut; Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Oswego, Oswego, New York.
5
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut; Department of Neuroscience, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut; Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
6
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut; Department of Neuroscience, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut; Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. Electronic address: chiang-shan.li@yale.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Error-related brain activities are altered in individuals with substance use disorders. Here we examined error-related activities in relation to problem drinking in nondependent alcohol drinkers. In particular, we investigated sex differences and whether altered error responses are related to post-error behavioral control.

METHODS:

A sample of 145 nondependent drinkers (77 women) performed the stop-signal task during functional magnetic resonance imaging. Imaging data were processed and modeled using statistical parametric mapping. Independent sample t test and linear regression were employed to examine sex differences in error response and relationship between error response and problem drinking.

RESULTS:

Compared with men, women showed greater error-related (stop error > go success) activations in the bilateral thalamus, right middle/superior temporal cortex, and bilateral dorsal anterior cingulate cortex. In whole-brain linear regression of error responses against the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test score, a wide swath of cortical and subcortical regions, including the thalamus, showed decreased activation in association with problem drinking in women but not in men. However, men and women were not different in the extent of post-error slowing and decreased thalamic error response in association with problem drinking was not related to the extent of post-error slowing in women.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results suggest sex differences in error-related activations with heavier drinking associated with reduced error activations in women but not in men. These differences in cerebral activations may reflect higher physiological arousal in response to errors and greater vulnerability of saliency-related arousal response to problem drinking in female as compared with male social drinkers.

KEYWORDS:

Cognitive control; Drinking problem; Error detection; Gender; Imaging; Thalamus

PMID:
29859929
PMCID:
PMC6177312
[Available on 2019-10-01]
DOI:
10.1016/j.bpsc.2018.04.008

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