Reduced structural connectivity of the amygdala is associated with childhood trauma in adult patients with alcohol use disorder.

Soravia, Leila M; Denier, Niklaus; Moggi, Franz; Grieder, Matthias; Federspiel, Andrea; Tschuemperlin, Raphaela M; Batschelet, Hallie M; Vollstädt-Klein, Sabine; Wiest, Roland; Stein, Maria; Bracht, Tobias (2022). Reduced structural connectivity of the amygdala is associated with childhood trauma in adult patients with alcohol use disorder. Addiction biology, 27(3), e13164. Wiley-Blackwell 10.1111/adb.13164

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Childhood trauma (CT) is frequent in patients with alcohol use disorder (AUD) and may impact on adult drinking behaviour and treatment outcome. This study aimed to investigate the structural correlates of CT in AUD, focusing on the amygdala, which plays a crucial role in the neurobiology of trauma. We hypothesized reduced amygdala volume and reduced structural connectivity as quantified by fractional anisotropy (FA) and by number of streamlines in those AUD patients with a history of moderate to severe CT (AUD-CT). T1-weighted MP2RAGE and diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) 3-Tesla MRI-scans were acquired in 41 recently abstinent patients with AUD. We compared bilateral amygdala volume and structural connectivity (FA and number of streamlines) of pathways emanating from the amygdala between AUD-CT (n = 20) and AUD without CT (AUD-NT, n = 21) using a mixed model multivariate analysis of variance (MANCOVA) controlling for age and gender. AUD-CT displayed reduced FA and reduced number of streamlines of amygdalar tracts. There were no differences regarding amygdala volume. The severity of physical abuse, a subscale of the childhood trauma questionnaire, was negatively correlated with FA and with number of streamlines. AUD-CT and AUD-NT differ regarding structural connectivity of pathways projecting to and from the amygdala, but not regarding amygdala volume. Those alterations of structural connectivity in AUD-CT may represent a distinguishable neurobiological subtype of AUD, which might be associated with the complex clinical picture and poorer outcome that patients with CT and AUD often present.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Translational Research Center
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology

UniBE Contributor:

Soravia Bachofner, Leila Maria, Denier, Niklaus, Moggi, Franz (A), Grieder, Matthias, Federspiel, Andrea, Tschümperlin, Raphaela Martina, Batschelet, Hallie Margareta, Wiest, Roland Gerhard Rudi, Stein, Maria, Bracht, Tobias


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology








Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

27 Apr 2022 09:21

Last Modified:

29 Mar 2023 23:38

Publisher DOI:


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Uncontrolled Keywords:

DTI alcohol use disorder amygdala childhood trauma emotion




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