Family history of alcohol use disorder is associated with brain structural and functional changes in healthy first-degree relatives.

Irina Filippi, Nicolas Hoertel, Eric Artiges, Guillaume Airagnes, Christophe Guérin-Langlois, Anne-Sophie Seigneurie, Pauline Frère, Manon Dubol, François Guillon, Hervé Lemaître, Mehdi Rahim, Jean-Luc Martinot, Frédéric Limosin
Eur. psychiatr.. 2019-10-01; 62: 107-115
DOI: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2019.08.003

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Neuroimaging studies of vulnerability to Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)
have identified structural and functional variations which might reflect
inheritable features in alcohol-naïve relatives of AUD individuals (FH+)
compared to controls having no such family history (FH-). However, prior
research did not simultaneously account for childhood maltreatment, any
clinically significant disorder and maternal AUD. Therefore, we mainly
aimed to investigate the brain structure and reward-related neural
activations (fMRI), using whole-brain analysis in FH+ young adults with
no prevalent confounders.

46 FH+ and 45 FH- male and female participants had no severe
childhood maltreatment exposure, neither any psychiatric disorder or
AUD, nor a prenatal exposure to maternal AUD. We used a 3 T MRI coupled
with a whole brain voxel-based method to compare between groups the grey
matter volumes and activations in response to big
versus small wins during a Monetary
Incentive Delay task. The Childhood Trauma Questionnaire score was used
as confounding variable in the analyses to account for the remaining
variance between groups.

Compared to FH- controls, FH+ participants had smaller grey matter
volumes in the frontal and cingulate regions as well as in the bilateral
nucleus accumbens and right insula. The FH+ participants’ fMRI datasets
denoted a blunted activation in the middle cingulum with respect to FH-
controls’ during the processing of reward magnitude, and a greater
activation in the anterior cingulum in response to anticipation of a
small win.

Family history of alcohol use disorder is linked to structural and
functional variations including brain regions involved in reward

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