The behavioral phenotype and genotype of conduct disorder (CD) differ in males and females. Abnormalities of white matter integrity have been reported among males with CD and antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). Little is known about white matter integrity in females with CD. The present study aimed to determine whether abnormalities of white matter are present among young women who presented CD before the age of 15, and whether abnormalities are independent of the multiple comorbid disorders and experiences of maltreatment characterizing females with CD that may each in themselves be associated with alterations of the white matter. Three groups of women, aged on average 24 years, were scanned using diffusion tensor imaging and compared: 28 with prior CD, three of whom presented ASPD; a clinical comparison (CC) group of 15 women with no history of CD but with similar proportions who presented alcohol dependence, drug dependence, anxiety disorders, depression disorders and physical and sexual abuse as the CD group; and 24 healthy women. Whole-brain, tract-based spatial statistics were computed to investigate differences in fractional anisotropy, axial diffusivity and radial diffusivity. Compared with healthy women, women with prior CD showed widespread reductions in axial diffusivity primarily in frontotemporal regions. After statistically adjusting for comorbid disorders and maltreatment, group differences in the corpus callosum body and genu (including forceps minor) remained significant. Compared with the CC group, women with CD showed reduced fractional anisotropy in the body and genu of the corpus callosum. No differences were detected between the CD and healthy women in the uncinate fasciculus.
2016. Vol. 6, e714