Enhanced cue reactivity and fronto-striatal functional connectivity in cocaine use disorders.

Research paper by Claire E CE Wilcox, Terri M TM Teshiba, Flannery F Merideth, Josef J Ling, Andrew R AR Mayer

Indexed on: 07 Apr '11Published on: 07 Apr '11Published in: Drug and Alcohol Dependence


Chronic cocaine use is associated with enhanced cue reactivity to drug stimuli. However, it may also alter functional connectivity (fcMRI) in regions involved in processing drug stimuli. Our aims were to evaluate the neural regions involved in subjective craving and how fcMRI may be altered in chronic cocaine users. Fourteen patients with a confirmed diagnosis of cocaine abuse or dependence (CCA) and 16 gender, age, and education-matched healthy controls (HC) completed a cue reactivity task and a resting state scan while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging. CCA showed increased activation compared to HC in left dorsolateral prefrontal and bilateral occipital cortex in response to cocaine cues but not to appetitive control stimuli. Moreover, CCA also showed increased activation within the orbital frontal cortex (OFC) for cocaine cues relative to the appetitive stimuli during a hierarchical regression analysis. A negative association between subjective craving and activity in medial posterior cingulate gyrus (PCC) was also observed for CCA. CCA exhibited increased resting state correlation (positive) between cue-processing seed regions (OFC and ventral striatum), and negative connectivity between cue-processing regions and PCC/precuneus. These alterations in fcMRI may partially explain the neural basis of increased drug cue salience in CCA.