Neural Correlates of Symptom Improvement Following Stimulant Treatment in Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2016 08; 26(6):527-36.JC
The purposes of this study were to examine the impact of 3 weeks of amphetamine administration on intrinsic connectome-wide connectivity patterns in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and explore the association between stimulant-induced symptom improvement and functional connectivity alteration.
Participants included 19 adults (age 20-55 years) diagnosed with ADHD using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed., Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) criteria per the Adult Clinician Diagnostic Scale taking part in amphetamine trials. For each patient, two 6-minute resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (R-fMRI) scans were acquired at baseline and after treatment. A fully data-driven multivariate analytic approach (i.e., multivariate distance matrix regression [MDMR]) was applied to R-fMRI data to characterize the distributed pharmacological effects in the entire functional connectome. Clinical efficacy was assessed using ADHD rating scale with adult prompts and the Adult Self-Report Scale v1.1 Symptom Checklist. We linked stimulant-induced functional connectivity changes to symptom amelioration using Spearman's correlation.
Three weeks of administration of a stimulant significantly reduced ADHD symptoms. MDMR-based analyses on R-fMRI data highlighted the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC, a key cognitive control region) and the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC, the anterior core of default network) whose distributed patterns of functional connectivity across the entire brain were altered by psychostimulants. Follow-up intrinsic functional connectivity revealed that stimulants specifically decreased the positive functional connectivity between DLPFC-insula, DLPFC-anterior cingulate cortex, and MPFC-insula. Importantly, these functional connectivity changes are associated with symptom improvement.
These results suggested that ADHD is associated with increased functional integration or decreased functional segregation between core regions of cognitive control, default, and salience networks. The apparent normalization of intrinsic functional interaction in these circuits (i.e., increased functional segregation) may underlie the clinical benefits produced by 3 weeks of amphetamine treatment.