Alterations in brain grey matter structures in patients with Crohn's disease and their correlation with psychological distress

Chun Hui Bao, Peng Liu, Hui Rong Liu, Lu Yi Wu, Yin Shi, Wei Feng Chen, Wei Qin, Yuan Lu, Jian Ye Zhang, Xiao Ming Jin, Xiao Mei Wang, Ji Meng Zhao, Xiao Ming Liu, Jie Tian, Huan Gan Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


Background: Whether Crohn's disease [CD] is correlated with brain structural changes is unclear. This study examined changes in grey matter [GM] structures in CD patients and their correlation with psychological distress. Methods: A total of 45 CD patients and 33 healthy controls were scanned using magnetic resonance imaging [MRI]. Voxel-based morphometry and a cortical thickness analysis were used to determine brain GM volume and cortical thickness. Results: The GM volumes in the CD patients were significantly higher in the putamen, pallidum, thalamus, hippocampal cortex, amygdala, precuneus, posterior parietal cortex, periaqueductal grey, and cerebellum, but were lower in many other cortical regions. The cortical thicknesses of the insula, cingulate cortex, parahippocampal cortex, and other cortical regions were significantly reduced in CD patients. After controlling for psychological distress [anxiety and depression], the differences among several regions involved in emotional processing were not significant. The GM volumes of the right anterior cingulate cortex, dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, and left insula and the cortical thickness of the left insula and orbitofrontal cortex were negatively correlated with disease duration. Conclusions: We suggest that the significant changes in GM structures in multiple brain regions of CD patients can be partially explained by the higher levels of anxiety and depression in these patients. Specific profiles of altered GM structures in CD patients were correlated with disease duration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)532-540
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Crohn's and Colitis
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015



  • Neuroimaging
  • brain
  • cortical thickness
  • intestine
  • voxel-based morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

Cite this

Bao, C. H., Liu, P., Liu, H. R., Wu, L. Y., Shi, Y., Chen, W. F., Qin, W., Lu, Y., Zhang, J. Y., Jin, X. M., Wang, X. M., Zhao, J. M., Liu, X. M., Tian, J., & Wu, H. G. (2015). Alterations in brain grey matter structures in patients with Crohn's disease and their correlation with psychological distress. Journal of Crohn's and Colitis, 9(7), 532-540.