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THC Exposure is Reflected in the Microstructure of the Cerebral Cortex and Amygdala of Young Adults

Cabeen, Ryan P. and Allman, John M. and Toga, Arthur W. (2020) THC Exposure is Reflected in the Microstructure of the Cerebral Cortex and Amygdala of Young Adults. Cerebral Cortex, 30 (9). pp. 4949-4963. ISSN 1047-3211. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhaa087.

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The endocannabinoid system serves a critical role in homeostatic regulation through its influence on processes underlying appetite, pain, reward, and stress, and cannabis has long been used for the related modulatory effects it provides through tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). We investigated how THC exposure relates to tissue microstructure of the cerebral cortex and subcortical nuclei using computational modeling of diffusion magnetic resonance imaging data in a large cohort of young adults from the Human Connectome Project. We report strong associations between biospecimen-defined THC exposure and microstructure parameters in discrete gray matter brain areas, including frontoinsular cortex, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and the lateral amygdala subfields, with independent effects in behavioral measures of memory performance, negative intrusive thinking, and paternal substance abuse. These results shed new light on the relationship between THC exposure and microstructure variation in brain areas related to salience processing, emotion regulation, and decision making. The absence of effects in some other cannabinoid-receptor-rich brain areas prompts the consideration of cellular and molecular mechanisms that we discuss. Further studies are needed to characterize the nature of these effects across the lifespan and to investigate the mechanistic neurobiological factors connecting THC exposure and microstructural parameters.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Cabeen, Ryan P.0000-0002-1372-3588
Toga, Arthur W.0000-0001-7902-3755
Additional Information:© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model ( Published: 07 May 2020. This work was supported by National Institutes of Health (grant number P41EB015922). Data were provided [in part] by the Human Connectome Project, WU-Minn Consortium (Principal Investigators: David Van Essen and Kamil Ugurbil; 1U54MH091657) funded by the 16 NIH Institutes and Centers that support the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research; and by the McDonnell Center for Systems Neuroscience at Washington University. The authors have no conflict of interest to report. This work was supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) of the National Institutes of Health under award number.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Washington UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Amygdala, cerebral cortex, diffusion MRI, microstructure, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
Issue or Number:9
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200507-143009535
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Official Citation:Ryan P Cabeen, John M Allman, Arthur W Toga, THC Exposure is Reflected in the Microstructure of the Cerebral Cortex and Amygdala of Young Adults, Cerebral Cortex, Volume 30, Issue 9, September 2020, Pages 4949–4963,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:103079
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:07 May 2020 21:59
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:18

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