The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology

Brief Report

Prefrontal grey-matter changes in short-term and long-term abstinent methamphetamine abusers 1

Seog Ju Kim a1, In Kyoon Lyoo a2a4c1, Jaeuk Hwang a2, Ain Chung a2a4, Young Hoon Sung a2, Jihyun Kim a2, Do-Hoon Kwon a5, Kee Hyun Chang a3 and Perry F. Renshaw a6
a1 Gil Medical Center, Gachon Medical School, Department of Psychiatry, Incheon, South Korea
a2 Seoul National University College of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Seoul, South Korea
a3 Seoul National University College of Medicine, Department of Radiology, Seoul, South Korea
a4 Interdisciplinary Program for Neuroscience, Seoul National University College of Natural Science, Seoul, South Korea
a5 Bugok National Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea
a6 Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital Brain Imaging Center, Belmont, MA, USA

Article author query
kim sj   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
lyoo ik   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
hwang j   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
chung a   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
hoon sung y   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
kim j   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
kwon dh   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
chang kh   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
renshaw pf   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Authors explored grey-matter density in 29 methamphetamine abusers and 20 healthy comparison subjects using voxel-based morphometry. Grey-matter density changes and performances on the Wisconsin Card Sorting test (WCST) were also compared between 11 short-term (<6 months) and 18 long-term ([gt-or-equal, slanted]6 months) abstinent methamphetamine abusers. Methamphetamine abusers had lower grey-matter density in the right middle frontal cortex (corrected p<0.05) and more total errors in the WCST (p<0.01) relative to healthy comparison subjects. Grey-matter density decrease in the right middle frontal cortex correlated with total errors in the WCST in methamphetamine abusers (r=−0.45). Long-term abstinent abusers had significantly less right middle frontal grey-matter density decrease (p<0.01) and total errors in the WCST (p<0.01) than short-term abstinent abusers, but more than the healthy comparison subjects. We report that methamphetamine abusers have prefrontal grey-matter deficit, which may, in part, recover with long-term abstinence.

(Published Online June 28 2005)
(Received January 4 2005)
(Reviewed February 23 2005)
(Revised March 16 2005)
(Accepted April 21 2005)

Key Words: Abstinence; executive function; frontal lobe; methamphetamine; voxel-based morphometry.

c1 Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University Hospital, 28 Yongon-dong, Chongno-gu, Seoul, 110-744, South Korea. Tel.: (82-2)-2072-3173 Fax: (82-2)-3672-0677 E-mail:


1 This study was presented at the 2004 Annual Meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence held at San Juan, Puerto Rico on 12–17 June 2004.