The frontostriatal circuit has been postulated to account for the core symptoms such as inattention in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This study investigated the white matter integrity of frontostriatal fiber tracts using diffusion spectrum imaging (DSI) tractography and its correlations with measures of multi-dimensional aspects of inattention based on psychiatric interview and attention tasks in 25 children with ADHD and 25 matched typically developing (TD) children. All the subjects were assessed with comprehensive psychiatric interviews and the Conner's Continuous Performance Test (CCPT). DSI data were acquired on a 3-Tesla MRI system. The frontostriatal fiber pathways were reconstructed by deterministic tractography, and generalized fractional anisotropy values were measured along individual targeted tracts to investigate alterations in microstructure integrity. Children with ADHD performed worse than TD children in the dimensions of focused attention, sustained attention, impulsivity, and vigilance of the CCPT, and showed impaired integrity in four bilateral frontostriatal tracts, namely the dorsolateral-caudate, medial prefrontal-caudate, orbitofrontal-caudate, and ventrolateral-caudate tracts, and in global white matter as well. The integrity of the left orbitofronto-caudate tract was associated with the symptom of inattention in children with ADHD, compatible with the attention deficit and motivational dysfunction theories in ADHD. The integrity of the frontostriatal tracts was associated with the attention performance only in TD children, suggestive of possible recruitment of tracts other than the frontostriatal tracts implicated in attention deficits in children with ADHD. In conclusion, our results demonstrate the functional involvement of the frontostriatal circuit with respect to clinical symptoms and attention performance. Hum Brain Mapp 35:199-212, 2014.
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