Altered hippocampal volume and functional connectivity in males with Internet gaming disorder comparing to those with alcohol use disorder (2017)

Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 18;7(1):5744. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-06057-7.

Yoon EJ1,2, Choi JS3,4, Kim H1,2, Sohn BK3,4, Jung HY3,4, Lee JY3,4, Kim DJ5, Park SW6,7, Kim YK8,9,10.


Internet gaming disorder (IGD) has been conceptualized as a behavioral addiction and shares clinical, neuropsychological, and personality characteristics with alcohol use disorder (AUD), but IGD dose not entail brain exposure to toxic agents, which renders it different from AUD. To achieve a clear understanding of the neurobiological features of IGD, we aimed to identify morphological and functional changes in IGD and compare them with those in AUD. Individuals with IGD showed larger volume in the hippocampus/amygdala and precuneus than healthy controls (HCs). The volume in the hippocampus positively correlated with the symptom severity of IGD. Moreover, functional connectivity analysis with the hippocampus/amygdala cluster revealed that the left ventromedial prefrontal cortex showed stronger functional connectivity in individuals with IGD compared to those with AUD. In contrast, individuals with AUD exhibited the smaller cerebellar volume and thinner medial frontal cortex than HCs. The volume in the cerebellum correlated with impaired working memory function as well as duration of illness in AUD group. Findings suggested that altered volume and functional connectivity in the hippocampus/amygdala in IGD might be associated with abnormally enhanced memory process of gaming-related cues, while abnormal cortical changes and cognitive impairments in AUD might be associated with neurotoxic effects of alcohol.

PMID: 28720860

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-06057-7