Abnormal interhemispheric functional connectivity correlates with several neurologic and psychiatric conditions, including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, and stroke. Abnormal interhemispheric functional connectivity also correlates with abuse of cannabis and cocaine. In the current report, we evaluated whether tobacco abuse (i.e., cigarette smoking) is associated with altered interhemispheric connectivity. To that end, we examined resting state functional connectivity (RSFC) using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in short term tobacco deprived and smoking as usual tobacco smokers, and in non-smoker controls. Additionally, we compared diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in the same subjects to study differences in white matter. The data reveal a significant increase in interhemispheric functional connectivity in sated tobacco smokers when compared to controls. This difference was larger in frontal regions, and was positively correlated with the average number of cigarettes smoked per day. In addition, we found a negative correlation between the number of DTI streamlines in the genual corpus callosum and the number of cigarettes smoked per day. Taken together, our results implicate changes in interhemispheric functional and anatomical connectivity in current cigarette smokers.
Keywords: corpus callosum; diffusion tensor imaging; interhemispheric connectivity; resting state functional connectivity; tobacco smoking.