Decreased frontostriatal microstructural organization in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Authors

  • Patrick de Zeeuw,

    Corresponding author
    1. Neuroimaging Lab, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands
    • Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (HP A-01.468-431), University Medical Centre Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht, The Netherlands
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  • René C.W. Mandl,

    1. Structural Neuroimaging Group, Department of Psychiatry, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands
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  • Hilleke E. Hulshoff Pol,

    1. Structural Neuroimaging Group, Department of Psychiatry, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands
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  • Herman van Engeland,

    1. Neuroimaging Lab, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands
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  • Sarah Durston

    1. Neuroimaging Lab, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands
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Abstract

Frontostriatal brain areas have been implicated in the neurobiology of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but little work has directly addressed the white matter connections between these regions. The present study investigates the microstructural organization and myelination of frontostriatal white matter in children with ADHD and controls. Diffusion tensor imaging and magnetization transfer imaging scans were acquired in 30 children with ADHD and 34 controls. A study specific volume of interest (VOI) of frontostriatal white matter was created using a tractography based statistical group map. Fractional anisotropy (FA, indexing microstructural organization) and magnetization transfer ratio (MTR, indexing macromolecular content, myelin in particular) were computed for the frontostriatal VOI and for total cerebral white matter. Exploratory analyses were conducted investigating the effect of stimulant use on these measures. Frontostriatal FA but not MTR was decreased in ADHD compared with controls. There were no differences in FA or MTR for total cerebral white matter. Frontostriatal FA correlated negatively with teacher-rated attention problems in controls but not children with ADHD. The duration of stimulant use did not affect the main results. Changes in frontostriatal connectivity in ADHD appear to be related to changes in microstructural organization rather than myelination per se. A correlation with attention problems for controls suggests that frontostriatal organization is relevant to ADHD-related behaviors. Hum Brain Mapp, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc

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