• the Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences


Original Article

Exp Neurobiol 2016; 25(6): 333-341

Published online December 31, 2016

© The Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences

Prefrontal Cortical Thickness Deficit in Detoxified Alcohol-dependent Patients

Sujin Bae1†, Ilhyang Kang2,3†, Boung Chul Lee4, Yujin Jeon2, Han Byul Cho5, Sujung Yoon2,3, Soo Mee Lim6, Jungyoon Kim2, In Kyoon Lyoo2,3,7, Jieun E Kim2,3* and Ihn-Geun Choi8*

1Industry Academic Cooperation Foundation, Chung-Ang University, Seoul 06974, 2Ewha Brain Institute, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, 3Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, 4Department of Neuropsychiatry, Hallym University Hangang Sacred Heart Hospital, Seoul 07247, Korea 5The Brain Institute, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA 6Department of Radiology, Ewha Womans University College of Medicine, Seoul 03760, 7College of Pharmacy, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, 8Department of Psychiatry, Hallym University Kangnam Sacred Heart Hospital, Seoul 07441, Korea

Correspondence to: *To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Jieun E Kim, TEL: 82-2-3277-6932, FAX: 82-2-3277-6562
Ihn-Geun Choi, TEL: 82-2-829-5187, FAX: 82-2-849-4469
These authors contributed equally to this work.

Received: August 21, 2016; Revised: December 14, 2016; Accepted: December 23, 2016


Alcohol dependence is a serious disorder that can be related with a number of potential health-related and social consequences. Cortical thickness measurements would provide important information on the cortical structural alterations in patients with alcohol dependence. Twenty-one patients with alcohol dependence and 22 healthy comparison subjects have been recruited and underwent high-resolution brain magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and clinical assessments. T1-weighted MR images were analyzed using the cortical thickness analysis program. Significantly thinner cortical thickness in patients with alcohol dependence than healthy comparison subjects was noted in the left superior frontal cortical region, correcting for multiple comparisons and adjusting with age and hemispheric average cortical thickness. There was a significant association between thickness in the cluster of the left superior frontal cortex and the duration of alcohol use. The prefrontal cortical region may particularly be vulnerable to chronic alcohol exposure. It is also possible that the pre-existing deficit in this region may have rendered individuals more susceptible to alcohol dependence.

Keywords: Alcoholism, Cerebral Cortex, Frontal Lobe, Magnetic Resonance Imaging