Abstract

The transition from adolescent to adult cognition and emotional control requires neurodevelopmental maturation likely involving intrinsic functional networks (IFNs). Normal neurodevelopment may be vulnerable to disruption from environmental insult such as alcohol consumption commonly initiated during adolescence. To test potential disruption to IFN maturation, we used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) in 581 no-to-low alcohol-consuming and 117 moderate-to-high-drinking youth. Functional seed-to-voxel connectivity analysis assessed age, sex, and moderate alcohol drinking on default-mode, executive-control, salience, reward, and emotion networks and tested cognitive and motor coordination correlates of network connectivity. Among no-to-low alcohol-consuming adolescents, executive-control frontolimbicstriatal connectivity was stronger in older than younger adolescents, particularly boys, and predicted better ability in balance, memory, and impulse control. Connectivity patterns in moderate-to-high-drinking youth were tested mainly in late adolescence when drinking was initiated. Implicated was the emotion network with attenuated connectivity to default-mode network regions. Our cross-sectional rs-fMRI findings from this large cohort of adolescents show sexual dimorphism in connectivity and suggest neurodevelopmental rewiring toward stronger and spatially more distributed executive-control networking in older than younger adolescents. Functional network rewiring in moderate-to-high-drinking adolescents may impede maturation of affective and self-reflection systems and obscure maturation of complex social and emotional behaviors.

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