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Brief Research Report ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02479

Executive impairment in Alcohol Use Disorder reflects structural changes in large-scale brain networks: A joint Independent Component Analysis on grey-matter and white-matter features

 Chiara Crespi1, 2*,  Caterina Galandra3, Marina Manera4,  Gianpaolo Basso5, Paolo Poggi4 and  Nicola Canessa3, 6
  • 1Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, IRCCS ICS Maugeri, Italy
  • 2NEtS center, Scuola Universitaria Superiore IUSS Pavia, Italy
  • 3Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, IRCCS Scientific Clinical Institutes Maugeri, Italy
  • 4IRCCS Scientific Clinical Institutes Maugeri (ICS Maugeri), Italy
  • 5University of Milano Bicocca, Italy
  • 6University Institute of Higher Studies in Pavia, Italy

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) entails chronic effects on brain structure. Neurodegeneration due to alcohol toxicity is a neural signature of executive impairment typically observed in AUD, previously associated with grey-matter volume/density and white-matter microstructure alterations. Recent studies highlighted the role of meso-cortico-limbic structures supporting the salience and executive networks, in which the extent of neurostructural damage is significantly related to patients’ executive performance. Here we aim to integrate multi-modal information on grey-matter and white-matter features with a multivariate data-driven approach (joint Independent Component Analysis, jICA), and to assess the relationship between the extent of damage in the resulting neurostructural superordinate components and executive profile in AUD. Twenty-two AUD patients and 18 matched healthy controls underwent a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) protocol, alongside clinical and neuropsychological examinations. We ran jICA on five neurostructural features, including grey-matter density and different DTI metrics. We extracted 12 Independent Components (ICs) and compared the resulting mixing coefficients in patients vs. HC. Finally, we correlated significant ICs with executive and clinical variables. One out of 12 ICs (IC11) discriminated patients from healthy controls and correlated positively both with executive performance in all subjects, and with lifetime duration of alcohol abuse in patients. In line with previous related evidence, this component involved widespread grey-matter and white-matter patterns including key nodes and fiber tracts of salience, default-mode and central executive networks. These findings highlighted the role of multivariate data integration as a valuable approach revealing superordinate hallmarks of neural changes related to cognition in neurological and psychiatric populations.

Keywords: large-scale brain network, rehabilitative applications, diffusion tensor (DT) MRI, Voxel Based Morphometry (VBM), Joint independent component analysis (jICA), alcohol chronic consumption, Alcohol use disorder (AUD)

Received: 16 Aug 2019; Accepted: 21 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Crespi, Galandra, Manera, Basso, Poggi and Canessa. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: PhD. Chiara Crespi, Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, IRCCS ICS Maugeri, Pavia, Italy,