Individuals with cannabis use are associated with widespread morphological alterations in the subregions of the amygdala, hippocampus, and pallidum

Zhaoyang Cong, Yu Fu, Nan Chen, Lingyu Zhang, Chaofan Yao, Yalin Wang, Zhijun Yao, Bin Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Cannabis is the most frequently used illicit drug worldwide. Although multiple structural MRI studies of individuals with cannabis use (CB) have been undertaken, the reports of the volume alterations in the amygdala, hippocampus, and pallidum are not consistent. This study aims to detect subregion-level morphological alterations, analyze the correlation areas with cannabis usage characteristics, and gain new insights into the neuro mechanisms of CB. Methods: By leveraging the novel surface-based subcortical morphometry method, 20 CB and 22 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (HC) were included to explore their volumetric and morphological differences in the three subcortical structures. Afterward, the correlation analysis between surface morphological eigenvalues and cannabis usage characteristics was performed. Results: Compared with volumetric measures, the surface-based subcortical morphometry method detected more significant global morphological deformations in the left amygdala, right hippocampus, and right pallidum (overall-p < 0.05, corrected). More obvious morphological alterations (atrophy or expansion) were observed in specific subregions (vertex-based p-value<0.05, uncorrected) of the three subcortical structures. Both positive and negative subregional correlation areas were reported by the correlation analysis. Conclusions: The current study illuminated new pathophysiologic mechanisms in the amygdala, hippocampus, and pallidum at the subregion level, which may inform the subsequent smaller-scale CB research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109595
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Volume239
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022

Keywords

  • Amygdala
  • Cannabis use
  • Hippocampus
  • Morphometry
  • Pallidum
  • Structural MRI
  • Subcortical structures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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