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Abstract #4049

White Matter Microstructural Alterations Induced by Chronic Cocaine Self-Administration: A Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study in the Rat

Alessandro Gozzi1, Michela Tessari1, Federica Agosta1, Lisa Dacome1, Mauro Corsi1, Angelo Bifone1

1Neuroscience CEDD, GlaxoSmithKline, Verona, Verona, Italy, Italy

Cocaine abuse is often modelled in experimental paradigms where rats are trained to self-administer the drug. However, the exact degree to which these models replicate the neurofunctional and microstructural alterations observed in neuroimaging studies of cocaine-addicts remains unknown. Here we used Diffusion Tensor Imaging to investigate white matter integrity in a rodent model of long-term, long-access self-administration of cocaine. We found substantial microstructural alterations in the frontal corpus callosum, a hallmark of reduced white matter integrity consistently observed in cocaine abusers. These findings strengthen the construct-validity of this self-administration model to investigate the neuroanatomical substrates involved in the transition from occasional drug use to chronic drug consumption.