White matter integrity in hair-pulling disorder (trichotillomania)

Annerine Roos, Jean Paul Fouche, Dan J. Stein, Christine Lochner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Hair-pulling disorder (trichotillomania, HPD) is a disabling condition that is characterized by repetitive hair-pulling resulting in hair loss. Although there is evidence of structural grey matter abnormalities in HPD, there is a paucity of data on white matter integrity. The aim of this study was to explore white matter integrity using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in subjects with HPD and healthy controls. Sixteen adult female subjects with HPD and 13 healthy female controls underwent DTI. Hair-pulling symptom severity, anxiety and depressive symptoms were also assessed. Tract-based spatial statistics were used to analyze data on fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD) and radial diffusivity (RD). There were no differences in DTI measures between HPD subjects and healthy controls. However, there were significant associations of increased MD in white matter tracts of the fronto-striatal-thalamic pathway with longer HPD duration and increased HPD severity. Our findings suggest that white matter integrity in fronto-striatal-thalamic pathways in HPD is related to symptom duration and severity. The molecular basis of measures of white matter integrity in HPD deserves further exploration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-250
Number of pages5
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Issue number3
StatePublished - 30 Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Hair pulling disorder
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Tract-based spatial statistics
  • Trichotillomania


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