Reduced anterior corpus callosum white matter integrity is related to increased impulsivity and reduced discriminability in cocaine-dependent subjects: Diffusion tensor imaging

Frederick Gerard Moeller, Khader M. Hasan, Joel L. Steinberg, Larry A. Kramer, Donald M. Dougherty, Rafael M. Santos, Ignacio Valdes, Alan C. Swann, Ernest S. Barratt, Ponnada A. Narayana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

217 Scopus citations


Brain imaging studies find evidence of prefrontal cortical dysfunction in cocaine-dependent subjects. Similarly, cocaine-dependent subjects have problems with behaviors related to executive function and impulsivity. Since prefrontal cortical axonal tracts cross between hemispheres in the corpus callosum, it is possible that white matter integrity in the corpus callosum could also be diminished in cocaine-dependent subjects. The purpose of this study was to compare corpus callosum white matter integrity as measured by the fractional anisotropy (FA) on diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) between 18 cocaine-dependent subjects and 18 healthy controls. The Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS-II) and a continuous performance test: the Immediate and Delayed Memory Task (IMT/DMT) were also collected. Results of the DTI showed significantly reduced FA in the genu and rostral body of the anterior corpus callosum in cocaine-dependent subjects compared to controls. Cocaine-dependent subjects also had significantly higher BIS-II scores, greater impulsive (commission) errors, and reduced ability to discriminate target from catch stimuli (discriminability) on the IMT/DMT. Within cocaine dependent subjects there was a significant negative correlation between FA in the anterior corpus callosum and behavioral laboratory measured impulsivity, and there was a positive correlation between FA and discriminability. The finding that reduced integrity of anterior corpus callosum white matter in cocaine users is related to impaired impulse control and reduced ability to discriminate between target and catch stimuli is consistent with prior theories regarding frontal cortical involvement in impaired inhibitory control in cocaine-dependent subiects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)610-617
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2005



  • Brain imaging
  • Cocaine dependence
  • Corpus callosum
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Impulsivity
  • Prefrontal cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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