Altered gray matter density and disrupted functional connectivity of the amygdala in adults with Internet gaming disorder (2015)

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2015 Mar 3;57:185-92. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2014.11.003.

Ko CH1, Hsieh TJ2, Wang PW3, Lin WC4, Yen CF5, Chen CS5, Yen JY6.



The aim of this study was to evaluate the altered brain structure and functional connectivity (FC) among subjects with Internet gaming disorder (IGD).


We recruited 30 males with IGD and 30 controls and evaluated their gray matter density (GMD) and FC using resting fMRI. The severities of IGD, gaming urge, and impulsivity were also assessed.


The results demonstrated that the subjects with IGD had a higher impulsivity and a greater severity of IGD.

The subjects with IGD had a lower GMD over the bilateral amygdala than the controls. Further, the subjects with IGD had lower FC with the left amygdala over the left dorsolateral prefrontal lobe (DLPFC) and with the right amygdala over the left DLPFC and orbital frontal lobe (OFL). They also had higher FC with the bilateral amygdala over the contralateral insula than the controls. The FC between the left amygdala and DLPFC was negatively correlated with impulsivity. The FC of the right amygdala to the left DLPFC and orbital frontal lobe was also negatively correlated with impulsivity.

Our results indicated that the altered GMD over the amygdala might represent vulnerability to IGD, such as impulsivity. Further analysis of the amygdala demonstrated impaired FC to the frontal lobe, which represents impulsivity.


The results of this study suggested that the amygdala plays a very influential role in the mechanism of IGD. Its detailed role should be further evaluated in future study and should be considered in the treatment of IGD.


Amygdala; Functional connectivity; Gray matter; Impulsivity; Internet gaming disorder