White matter tract integrity in treatment-resistant gambling disorder (2016)

Br J Psychiatry. 2016 Feb 4. pii: bjp.bp.115.165506.

Chamberlain SR1, Derbyshire K1, Daws RE1, Odlaug BL1, Leppink EW1, Grant JE2.



Gambling disorder is a relatively common psychiatric disorder recently re-classified within the DSM-5 under the category of ‘substance-related and addictive disorders’.


To compare white matter integrity in patients with gambling disorder with healthy controls; to explore relationships between white matter integrity and disease severity in gambling disorder.


In total, 16 participants with treatment-resistant gambling disorder and 15 healthy controls underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). White matter integrity was analysed using tract-based spatial statistics.


Gambling disorder was associated with reduced fractional anisotropy in the corpus callosum and superior longitudinal fasciculus. Fractional anisotropy in distributed white matter tracts elsewhere correlated positively with disease severity.


Reduced corpus callosum fractional anisotropy is suggestive of disorganised/damaged tracts in patients with gambling disorder, and this may represent a trait/vulnerability marker for the disorder. Future research should explore these measures in a larger sample, ideally incorporating a range of imaging markers (for example functional MRI) and enrolling unaffected first-degree relatives of patients.