Altered orbitofrontal sulcogyral patterns in gambling disorder: a multicenter study (2019)

Transl Psychiatry. 2019 Aug 5;9(1):186. doi: 10.1038/s41398-019-0520-8.

Li Y1,2, Wang Z3,4, Boileau I5, Dreher JC6, Gelskov S7, Genauck A8, Joutsa J9, Kaasinen V9, Perales JC10, Romanczuk-Seiferth N8, Ruiz de Lara CM10, Siebner HR7,11, van Holst RJ12, van Timmeren T12, Sescousse G13.


Gambling disorder is a serious psychiatric condition characterized by decision-making and reward processing impairments that are associated with dysfunctional brain activity in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). However, it remains unclear whether OFC functional abnormalities in gambling disorder are accompanied by structural abnormalities. We addressed this question by examining the organization of sulci and gyri in the OFC. This organization is in place very early and stable across life, such that OFC sulcogyral patterns (classified into Types I, II, and III) can be regarded as potential pre-morbid markers of pathological conditions. We gathered structural brain data from nine existing studies, reaching a total of 165 individuals with gambling disorder and 159 healthy controls. Our results, supported by both frequentist and Bayesian statistics, show that the distribution of OFC sulcogyral patterns is skewed in individuals with gambling disorder, with an increased prevalence of Type II pattern compared with healthy controls. Examination of gambling severity did not reveal any significant relationship between OFC sulcogyral patterns and disease severity. Altogether, our results provide evidence for a skewed distribution of OFC sulcogyral patterns in gambling disorder and suggest that pattern Type II might represent a pre-morbid structural brain marker of the disease. It will be important to investigate more closely the functional implications of these structural abnormalities in future work.

PMID: 31383841

PMCID: PMC6683128

DOI: 10.1038/s41398-019-0520-8