Document Type


Original Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

Drug and Alcohol Dependence



DOI of Original Publication



Originally published at

Date of Submission

June 2017



Previous diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies have consistently shown that subjects with cocaine use disorder (CocUD) had altered white matter microstructure in the corpus callosum. It is believed that these alterations are due to preexisting factors, chronic cocaine use, or both. However, there is no published longitudinal DTI study on human cocaine users yet which could shed light on the relationship between cocaine use and DTI findings.


This study used a longitudinal design and DTI to test if the white matter microstructure shows quicker alteration in CocUD subjects than controls. DTI data were acquired from eleven CocUD subjects who participated a treatment study and eleven non-drug-using controls at baseline (Scan 1) and after ten weeks (Scan 2). The baseline fractional anisotropy (FA), a general measure of white matter microstucture, and the change in FA (ΔFA, equals Scan 1 FA minus Scan 2 FA) were both compared between groups.


The two groups did not show a difference in FA at baseline. The CocUD subjects had significantly greater ΔFA than the controls in the left splenium of the corpus callosum. In CocUD subjects, greater ΔFA in this region was associated with shorter lifetime cocaine use and greater number of positive cocaine urine samples collected during the treatment.


The finding in the left splenium is consistent with previous animal studies and provide indirect evidence about the effects of chronic cocaine use on white matter alterations. The subject sample size is small, therefore the results should be treated as preliminary.


© 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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