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Original Article

Exp Neurobiol 2021; 30(6): 441-450

Published online December 31, 2021

© The Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences

Association between Changes in Cortical Thickness and Functional Connectivity in Male Patients with Alcohol-dependence

Shin-Eui Park1, Yeong-Jae Jeon2 and Hyeon-Man Baek1,2*

1Lee Gil Ya Cancer & Diabetes Institute, Gachon University, Incheon 21999, 2Department of Health Science and Technology, GAIHST, Gachon University, Incheon 21936, Korea

Correspondence to: *To whom correspondence should be addressed.
TEL: 82-32-899-6678, FAX: 82-32-899-6677

Received: October 1, 2021; Revised: November 22, 2021; Accepted: November 22, 2021

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Many studies have reported structural or functional brain changes in patients with alcohol-dependence (ADPs). However, there has been an insufficient number of studies that were able to identify functional changes along with structural abnormalities in ADPs. Since neuronal cell death can lead to abnormal brain function, a multimodal approach combined with structural and functional studies is necessary to understand definitive neural mechanisms. Here, we explored regional difference in cortical thickness and their impact on functional connection along with clinical relevance. Fifteen male ADPs who have been diagnosed by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5) underwent highresolution T1 and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans together with 15 male healthy controls (HCs). The acquired MRI data were post-processed using the Computational Anatomy Toolbox (CAT 12) and CONN-fMRI functional connectivity (FC) toolbox with Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM 12). When compared with male HCs, the male ADPs showed significantly reduced cortical thickness in the left postcentral gyrus (PoCG), an area responsible for altered resting-state FC patterns in male ADPs. Statistically higher FCs in PoCG-cerebellum (Cb) and lower FCs in PoCG-supplementary motor area (SMA) were observed in male ADPs. In particular, the FCs with PoCG-Cb positively correlated with alcohol use disorders identification test (AUDIT) scores in male ADPs. Our findings suggest that the association of brain structural abnormalities and FC changes could be a characteristic difference in male ADPs. These findings can be useful in understanding the neural mechanisms associated with anatomical, functional and clinical features of individuals with alcoholism.

Graphical Abstract

Keywords: Male patients with alcohol-dependence, Alcoholism, Brain cortical thickness, Postcentral gyrus, Resting-state functional connectivity