Differences in brain gray matter volume in patients with Crohn's disease with and without abdominal pain

Chunhui Bao, Peng Liu, Yin Shi, Luyi Wu, Xiaoming Jin, Xiaoqing Zeng, Jianye Zhang, Di Wang, Huirong Liu, Huangan Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Increasing evidence indicates that abnormal pain processing is present in the central nervous system of patients with Crohn's disease (CD). The purposes of this study were to assess changes in gray matter (GM) volumes in CD patients in remission and to correlate structural changes in the brain with abdominal pain. We used a 3.0 T magnetic resonance scanner to examine the GM structures in 21 CD patients with abdominal pain, 26 CD patients without abdominal pain, and 30 healthy control subjects (HCs). Voxel-based morphometric analyses were used to assess the brain GM volumes. Patients with abdominal pain exhibited higher CD activity index and lower inflammatory bowel disease questionnaire scores than those of the patients without abdominal pain. Compare to HCs and to patients without abdominal pain, patients with abdominal pain exhibited lower GM volumes in the insula and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC); whereas compare to HCs and to patients with abdominal pain, the patients without abdominal pain exhibited higher GM volumes in the hippocampal and parahippocampal cortex. The GM volumes in the insula and ACC were significantly negatively correlated with daily pain scores. These results suggest that differences exist in the brain GM volume between CD patients in remission with and without abdominal pain. The negative correlation between the GM volumes in the insula and ACC and the presence and severity of abdominal pain in CD suggests these structures are closely related to visceral pain processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93624-93632
Number of pages9
Issue number55
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017


  • Brain
  • Crohn's disease
  • Gray matter
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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