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6th International Conference on Brain Disorders and Therapeutics

Copenhagen, Denmark

Andre Galinowski

Andre Galinowski

INSERM, UMR 1000, Research unit “Neuroimaging and Psychiatry", France

Title: Brainstem microstructure in heavy drinking adolescents


Biography: Andre Galinowski


Introduction: The cortical-cerebellar circuit is vulnerable to heavy drinking (HD) in adults. We hypothesized HD adolescents would display early microstructural modifications of the pons/midbrain region, containing core structures of the reward system.

Methods: At age 14, 32 otherwise, symptom-free HD (HD14) and 24 sober adolescents becoming HD at age 16 (HD16), were identified in the community (IMAGEN cohort in 8 European cities) with the alcohol use disorders identification test (AUDIT) and compared with abstainers. The money incentive delay (MID) task assessed reward sensitive performance. Voxel-wise statistics of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) values in the thalamo-ponto-mesencephalic region were obtained using tract-based spatial statistics. Projections between the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) were identified by probabilistic tractography.

Results: Significantly different DTI values were detected in a cluster of the upper dorsal pons of HD14 and HD16 adolescents compared with abstainers. When expecting reward: HD14 had higher MID task success scores than abstainers. MID task success scores were linked with the number of tracts in all adolescents.

Conclusion: In symptom-free community adolescents, a region of lower white matter (WM) integrity in the pons at age 14 was associated with current heavy drinking and predicted heavy drinking at 16. Heavy drinking was related to reward sensitivity.