Moreover, although DTI has been instrumental in increasing understanding of the brain’s structural connectivity, its limitations as an indicator of white matter integrity must be acknowledged. DTI metrics are influenced directly and indirectly by multiple properties of white matter and surrounding tissue, and research
into precise mechanisms of change in these metrics Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical in humans is ongoing. In addition, methods such as higher order fitting to address possible effects of crossing fibers were not used in this study. Because correction for multiple comparisons was not highly conservative, interpretation of findings should be cautious pending replication of these results in an independent sample. Importantly, the cross-sectional design does not speak to whether individual variability in white matter profiles was a function of drinking history or a premorbid characteristic. A previous study found lower FA in several regions Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical of interest shared with this study in alcohol-naïve adolescents with family history of alcohol dependence compared to healthy
control participants (Herting et al. 2010). Moreover, lower FA was significantly related to reduced frontocerebellar functional connectivity (Herting et al. 2011). Taken together with a report of reduced functional Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical connectivity in frontoparietal networks in a study of a similar adolescent sample (Wetherill et al. 2012), it appears that genetic liability for AUDs may account for a substantial proportion of variance in neural
processing of alcohol cues. Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical Regarding sampling methodology, the decision to include participants based on quantity and frequency of recent drinking rather than diagnosis Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical of alcohol abuse or dependence can be seen as an asset or a shortcoming, depending on perspective. The objective was to link ABT-737 ic50 neurobiological outcomes to overt behavioral rather than syndromal markers in order to increase generalizability to the population of heavy drinkers, who may or may not endorse diagnostic criteria. Related to this issue is the fact that a large minority of participants reported using drugs other than alcohol. This characteristic limits interpretation of findings, as the possible neurobiological effects of these other drugs were not evaluated. At the same time, the rate of illicit drug use in our sample was unless similar to the rate of 31% reported by heavy drinkers in a recent epidemiological sample (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 2012), lending ecological validity to our findings. In conclusion, our results expand on previous studies by establishing a relationship between lower white matter integrity and increased functional activation to an alcohol taste cue in a sample of heavy drinkers.