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Bilateral Fronto-Parietal Integrity in Young Chronic Cigarette Smokers: A Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study
Published: Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Author: Yanhui Liao et al.

by Yanhui Liao, Jinsong Tang, Qijian Deng, Yongwen Deng, Tao Luo, Xuyi Wang, Hongxian Chen, Tieqiao Liu, Xiaogang Chen, Arthur L. Brody, Wei Hao

Background

Cigarette smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality in China and other countries. Previous studies have demonstrated gray matter loss in chronic smokers. However, only a few studies assessed the changes of white matter integrity in this group. Based on those previous reports of alterations in white matter integrity in smokers, the aim of this study was to examine the alteration of white matter integrity in a large, well-matched sample of chronic smokers and non-smokers.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Using in vivo diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to measure the differences of whole-brain white matter integrity between 44 chronic smoking subjects (mean age, 28.0±5.6 years) and 44 healthy age- and sex-matched comparison non-smoking volunteers (mean age, 26.3±5.8 years). DTI was performed on a 3-Tesla Siemens scanner (Allegra; Siemens Medical System). The data revealed that smokers had higher fractional anisotropy (FA) than healthy non-smokers in almost symmetrically bilateral fronto-parietal tracts consisting of a major white matter pathway, the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF).

Conclusion/Significance

We found the almost symmetrically bilateral fronto-parietal whiter matter changes in a relatively large sample of chronic smokers. These findings support the hypothesis that chronic cigarette smoking involves alterations of bilateral fronto-parietal connectivity.

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