Journal of East China Normal University(Natural Sc ›› 2014, Vol. 2014 ›› Issue (4): 94-101.

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Altered white matter architecture among college athletes: A diffusion tensor imaging study

SHEN Guo-hua1, ZHANG Jian2, WANG Hui1, WU Yin2, ZENG Yu-wen2, DU Xiao-xia1   

  1. 1. Shanghai Key Laboratory of Magnetic Resonance, Department of Physics, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China;  2. Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai 200438, China
  • Received:2013-04-01 Revised:2013-07-01 Online:2014-07-25 Published:2014-07-25

Abstract: Previous studies have shown that motor skill learning can
induce changes involving the structural reorganization of gray and
white matter architecture. However, whether learning
basketball-related motor skills activates structural plasticity in
the cerebral white matter is presently unknown. We used diffusion
tensor imaging (DTI) to assess microstructural differences within
the white matter of college basketball athletes and non-athletes. In
all, 15 healthy college basketball athletes and 15 healthy college
non-athletes took part in the experiments. Tract-based spatial
statistics (TBSS) were used to perform a whole-brain analysis of the
DTI data and to explore brain structural differences between
athletes and non-athletes. Compared to non-athletes, athletes
demonstrated significantly greater FA in the right middle temporal
gyrus, bilateral middle occipital gyrus, right middle frontal gyrus,
right frontal lobe, right precentral gyrus, left insular cortex and
parahippocampal gyrus. These areas are all involved in learning
motor skills and sports training. The results imply that there is an
association between sports training and subsequent white matter

Key words: motor training, diffusion tensor imaging, white matter, athletes

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