Diffusion tensor imaging of the corpus callosum in addiction

Neuropsychobiology. 2006;54(2):107-13. doi: 10.1159/000096992. Epub 2006 Nov 13.


Diffusion tensor imaging, a novel technique with an increased capability of detecting abnormalities in the white matter, has increasingly been employed in the study of the biology of addictions. A comprehensive search from a range of databases was conducted and publications on this topic were selected. Nine reports, eight published and one unpublished, met criteria for inclusion, five on alcoholism, three on cannabis and one on cocaine use. Findings of this review suggest focal disruption of commissural connectivity in the corpus callosum. In alcoholism, the genu and splenium were particularly affected with a different pattern in men and women, and an association with age and duration of substance use. In cocaine dependence, the genu and rostral body showed significant damage. Cannabis consumption may be associated with white matter disruption, but there is not sufficient evidence to support pathological changes in the corpus callosum. The improved detection of white matter pathology with diffusion tensor imaging supports the importance of future research in this field.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Corpus Callosum / pathology*
  • Databases, Factual / statistics & numerical data
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Substance-Related Disorders / classification
  • Substance-Related Disorders / pathology*