Strengthened and posterior-shifted structural rich-club organization in people who use cocaine.
BACKGROUND: People with cocaine use disorder (CUD) often have abnormal cognitive function and brain structure. Cognition is supported by brain networks that typically have characteristics like rich-club organization, which is a group of regions that are highly connected across the brain and to each other, and small worldness, which is a balance between local and long-distance connections. However, it is unknown whether there are abnormalities in structural brain network connectivity of CUD. METHODS: Using diffusion-weighted imaging, we measured structural connectivity in 37 people with CUD and 38 age-matched controls. We identified differences in rich-club organization and whether such differences related to small worldness and behavior. We also tested whether rich-club reorganization was associated with caudate and putamen structural connectivity due to the relevance of the dopamine system to cocaine use. RESULTS: People with CUD had a higher normalized rich-club coefficient than controls, more edges connecting rich-club nodes to each other and to non-rich-club nodes, and fewer edges connecting non-rich-club nodes. Rich-club nodes were shifted posterior and lateral. Rich-club reorganization was related to lower clustered connectivity around individual nodes found in CUD, to increased impulsivity, and to a decrease in caudate connectivity. CONCLUSIONS: These findings are consistent with previous work showing increased rich-club connectivity in conditions associated with a hypofunctional dopamine system. The posterior shift in rich-club nodes in CUD suggests that the structural connectivity of posterior regions may be more impacted than previously recognized in models based on brain function and morphology.
Hall, SA; Bell, RP; Gadde, S; Towe, SL; Nadeem, MT; McCann, PS; Song, AW; Meade, CS
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