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Psychiatry Investig > Volume 20(5); 2023 > Article
Psychiatry Investigation 2023;20(5):439-444.
DOI:    Published online May 25, 2023.
The Influence of Life Stress and Sleep Disturbance on White Matter Integrity
Minjeong Kim1  , Jiye Lee1  , Nambeom Kim2  , Yunjee Hwang3  , Kyung Hwa Lee4,5  , Jooyoung Lee1  , Yu Jin Lee4  , Seog Ju Kim1 
1Department of Psychiatry, Sungkyunkwan University, College of Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea
2Department of Biomedical Engineering Research Center, Gachon University, Incheon, Republic of Korea
3Department of Brain and Cognitive Engineering, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
4Department of Psychiatry and Center for Sleep and Chronobiology, Seoul National University, College of Medicine and Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea
5Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Correspondence: Yu Jin Lee ,Tel: +82-2-2072-2456, Fax: +82-2-744-7241, Email:
Correspondence: Seog Ju Kim ,Tel: +82-2-3410-3583, Fax: +82-2-3410-0050, Email:
Received: September 26, 2022   Revised: February 1, 2023   Accepted: February 5, 2023   Published online: May 25, 2023
*Minjeong Kim and Jiye Lee contributed equally to this study as co-first authors.
This study investigated whether sleep and stress mutually interact to induce changes in white matter integrity.
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was conducted on 36 participants (male=22, female=14; mean age=38.33±12.78 years). Participants were divided into three groups depending on their sleep quality and stress levels: poor sleepers with stress, poor sleepers without stress, and good sleepers. Sleep quality and stress level were evaluated using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and the Life Experiences Survey, respectively. Fractional anisotropy (FA) values were calculated employing DTI tractography.
After controlling for age and sex, poor sleepers with stress exhibited a lower FA of the left inferior cerebellar peduncle (ICP) than did poor sleepers without stress (t=2.81, p=0.02). Poor sleepers without stress showed a higher FA of the right middle longitudinal fasciculus (MdLF) than did good sleepers (t=3.35, p=0.006).
The current study reports the effects of sleep, stress, and their interaction on the white matter integrities of the ICP and MdLF. ICP change seems to be associated with sleep disturbances related to stress, while MdLF change would be associated with sleep disturbances unrelated to stress.
Key words   Stress; Sleep; Inferior cerebellar peduncle; Middle longitudinal fasciculus; Diffusion tensor image
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