Linked anatomical and functional brain alterations in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Neuroimage Clin. 2019;23:101851. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2019.101851. Epub 2019 May 4.


Objectives: Neuroimaging studies have independently demonstrated brain anatomical and functional impairments in participants with ADHD. The aim of the current study was to explore the relationship between structural and functional brain alterations in ADHD through an integrated analysis of multimodal neuroimaging data.

Methods: We performed a multimodal analysis to integrate resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), structural MRI, and diffusion-weighted imaging data in a large, single-site sample of children with and without diagnosis for ADHD. The inferred subject contributions were fed into regression models to investigate the relationships between diagnosis, symptom severity, gender, and age.

Results: Compared with controls, children with ADHD diagnosis showed altered white matter microstructure in widespread white matter fiber tracts as well as greater gray matter volume (GMV) in bilateral frontal regions, smaller GMV in posterior regions, and altered functional connectivity (FC) in default mode and fronto-parietal networks. Age-related growth of GMV of bilateral occipital lobe, FC in frontal regions as well as age-related decline of GMV in medial regions seen in controls appeared reversed in children with ADHD. In the whole group, higher symptom severity was related to smaller GMV in widespread regions in bilateral frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes, as well as greater GMV in intracalcarine and temporal cortices.

Conclusions: Through a multimodal analysis approach we show that structural and functional alterations in brain regions known to be altered in subjects with ADHD from unimodal studies are linked across modalities. The brain alterations were related to clinical features of ADHD, including disorder status, age, and symptom severity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnostic imaging*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / physiopathology*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / trends*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male