Dysfunction of the prefrontal cortex in addiction: neuroimaging findings and clinical implications.
ABSTRACT: The loss of control over drug intake that occurs in addiction was initially believed to result from disruption of subcortical reward circuits. However, imaging studies in addictive behaviours have identified a key involvement of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) both through its regulation of limbic reward regions and its involvement in higher-order executive function (for example, self-control, salience attribution and awareness). This Review focuses on functional neuroimaging studies conducted in the past decade that have expanded our understanding of the involvement of the PFC in drug addiction. Disruption of the PFC in addiction underlies not only compulsive drug taking but also accounts for the disadvantageous behaviours that are associated with addiction and the erosion of free will.
Project description:Circadian rhythms are prominent in many physiological and behavioral functions. Circadian disruptions either by environmental or molecular perturbation can have profound health consequences, including the development and progression of addiction. Both animal and humans studies indicate extensive bidirectional relationships between the circadian system and drugs of abuse. Addicted individuals display disrupted rhythms, and chronic disruption or particular chronotypes may increase the risk for substance abuse and relapse. Moreover, polymorphisms in circadian genes and an evening chronotype have been linked to mood and addiction disorders, and recent efforts suggest an association with the function of reward neurocircuitry. Animal studies are beginning to determine how altered circadian gene function results in drug-induced neuroplasticity and behaviors. Many studies suggest a critical role for circadian rhythms in reward-related pathways in the brain and indicate that drugs of abuse directly affect the central circadian pacemaker. In this review, we highlight key findings demonstrating the importance of circadian rhythms in addiction and how future studies will reveal important mechanistic insights into the involvement of circadian rhythms in drug addiction.
Project description:The impaired response inhibition and salience attribution (iRISA) model proposes that impaired response inhibition and salience attribution underlie drug seeking and taking. To update this model, we systematically reviewed 105 task-related neuroimaging studies (n > 15/group) published since 2010. Results demonstrate specific impairments within six large-scale brain networks (reward, habit, salience, executive, memory, and self-directed networks) during drug cue exposure, decision making, inhibitory control, and social-emotional processing. Addicted individuals demonstrated increased recruitment of these networks during drug-related processing but a blunted response during non-drug-related processing, with the same networks also being implicated during resting state. Associations with real-life drug use, relapse, therapeutic interventions, and the relevance to initiation of drug use during adolescence support the clinical relevance of the results. Whereas the salience and executive networks showed impairments throughout the addiction cycle, the reward network was dysregulated at later stages of abuse. Effects were similar in alcohol, cannabis, and stimulant addiction.
Project description:We found that development of obesity was coupled with emergence of a progressively worsening deficit in neural reward responses. Similar changes in reward homeostasis induced by cocaine or heroin are considered to be crucial in triggering the transition from casual to compulsive drug-taking. Accordingly, we detected compulsive-like feeding behavior in obese but not lean rats, measured as palatable food consumption that was resistant to disruption by an aversive conditioned stimulus. Striatal dopamine D2 receptors (D2Rs) were downregulated in obese rats, as has been reported in humans addicted to drugs. Moreover, lentivirus-mediated knockdown of striatal D2Rs rapidly accelerated the development of addiction-like reward deficits and the onset of compulsive-like food seeking in rats with extended access to palatable high-fat food. These data demonstrate that overconsumption of palatable food triggers addiction-like neuroadaptive responses in brain reward circuits and drives the development of compulsive eating. Common hedonic mechanisms may therefore underlie obesity and drug addiction.
Project description:Chronic and recurrent opiate use injuries brain tissue and cause serious pathophysiological changes in hemodynamic and subsequent inflammatory responses. Prefrontal cortex (PFC) has been implicated in drug addiction. However, the mechanism underlying systems-level neuroadaptations in PFC during abstinence has not been fully characterized. The objective of our study was to determine what neural oscillatory activity contributes to the chronic effect of opiate exposure and whether the activity could be coupled to neurovascular information in the PFC. We employed resting-state functional connectivity to explore alterations in 8 patients with heroin dependency who stayed abstinent (>3 months; HD) compared with 11 control subjects. A non-invasive neuroimaging strategy was applied to combine electrophysiological signals through electroencephalography (EEG) with hemodynamic signals through functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). The electrophysiological signals indicate neural synchrony and the oscillatory activity, and the hemodynamic signals indicate blood oxygenation in small vessels in the PFC. A supervised machine learning method was used to obtain associations between EEG and fNIRS modalities to improve precision and localization. HD patients demonstrated desynchronized lower alpha rhythms and decreased connectivity in PFC networks. Asymmetric excitability and cerebrovascular injury were also observed. This pilot study suggests that cerebrovascular injury in PFC may result from chronic opiate intake.
Project description:Impairments in response inhibition and salience attribution (iRISA) have been proposed to underlie the clinical symptoms of drug addiction as mediated by cortico-striatal-thalamo-cortical networks. The bulk of evidence supporting the iRISA model comes from neuroimaging research that has focused on cortical and striatal influences with less emphasis on the role of the thalamus. Here, we highlight the importance of the thalamus in drug addiction, focusing on animal literature findings on thalamic nuclei in the context of drug-seeking, structural and functional changes of the thalamus as measured by imaging studies in human drug addiction, particularly during drug cue and non-drug reward processing, and response inhibition tasks. Findings from the animal literature suggest that the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus, the lateral habenula and the mediodorsal nucleus may be involved in the reinstatement, extinction and expression of drug-seeking behaviours. In support of the iRISA model, the human addiction imaging literature demonstrates enhanced thalamus activation when reacting to drug cues and reduced thalamus activation during response inhibition. This pattern of response was further associated with the severity of, and relapse in, drug addiction. Future animal studies could widen their field of focus by investigating the specific role(s) of different thalamic nuclei in different phases of the addiction cycle. Similarly, future human imaging studies should aim to specifically delineate the structure and function of different thalamic nuclei, for example, through the application of advanced imaging protocols at higher magnetic fields (7 Tesla).This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'Of mice and mental health: facilitating dialogue between basic and clinical neuroscientists'.
Project description:Understanding the brain circuitry that underlies reward is critical to improve treatment for many common health issues, including obesity, depression, and addiction. Here we focus on insights into the organization and function of reward circuitry and its synaptic and structural adaptations in response to cocaine exposure. While the importance of certain circuits, such as the mesocorticolimbic dopamine pathway, are well established in drug reward, recent studies using genetics-based tools have revealed functional changes throughout the reward circuitry that contribute to different facets of addiction, such as relapse and craving. The ability to observe and manipulate neuronal activity within specific cell types and circuits has led to new insight into not only the basic connections between brain regions, but also the molecular changes within these specific microcircuits, such as neurotrophic factor and GTPase signaling or ?-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptor function, that underlie synaptic and structural plasticity evoked by drugs of abuse. Excitingly, these insights from preclinical rodent work are now being translated into the clinic, where transcranial magnetic simulation and deep brain stimulation therapies are being piloted in human cocaine dependence. Thus, this review seeks to summarize current understanding of the major brain regions implicated in drug-related behaviors and the molecular mechanisms that contribute to altered connectivity between these regions, with the postulation that increased knowledge of the plasticity within the drug reward circuit will lead to new and improved treatments for addiction.
Project description:Addiction treatment has not been appreciably improved by neuroscientific research. One problem is that mechanistic studies using rodent models do not incorporate volitional social factors, which play a critical role in human addiction. Here, using rats, we introduce an operant model of choice between drugs and social interaction. Independent of sex, drug class, drug dose, training conditions, abstinence duration, social housing, or addiction score in Diagnostic & Statistical Manual IV-based and intermittent access models, operant social reward prevented drug self-administration. This protection was lessened by delay or punishment of the social reward but neither measure was correlated with the addiction score. Social-choice-induced abstinence also prevented incubation of methamphetamine craving. This protective effect was associated with activation of central amygdala PKC?-expressing inhibitory neurons and inhibition of anterior insular cortex activity. These findings highlight the need for incorporating social factors into neuroscience-based addiction research and support the wider implantation of socially based addiction treatments.
Project description:Cannabis is one of the most widely used illicit substance among users of stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines. Interestingly, increasing recent evidence points toward the involvement of the endocannabinoid system (ECBS) in the neurobiological processes related to stimulant addiction. This article presents an up-to-date review with deep insights into the pivotal role of the ECBS in the neurobiology of stimulant addiction and the effects of its modulation on addictive behaviors. This article aims to: (1) review the role of cannabis use and ECBS modulation in the neurobiological substrates of psychostimulant addiction and (2) evaluate the potential of cannabinoid-based pharmacological strategies to treat stimulant addiction. A growing number of studies support a critical role of the ECBS and its modulation by synthetic or natural cannabinoids in various neurobiological and behavioral aspects of stimulants addiction. Thus, cannabinoids modulate brain reward systems closely involved in stimulants addiction, and provide further evidence that the cannabinoid system could be explored as a potential drug discovery target for treating addiction across different classes of stimulants.
Project description:The past two decades have witnessed a dramatic accumulation of evidence indicating that the excitatory amino acid glutamate plays an important role in drug addiction and alcoholism. The purpose of this review is to summarize findings on glutamatergic substrates of addiction, surveying data from both human and animal studies. The effects of various drugs of abuse on glutamatergic neurotransmission are discussed, as are the effects of pharmacological or genetic manipulation of various components of glutamate transmission on drug reinforcement, conditioned reward, extinction, and relapse-like behavior. In addition, glutamatergic agents that are currently in use or are undergoing testing in clinical trials for the treatment of addiction are discussed, including acamprosate, N-acetylcysteine, modafinil, topiramate, lamotrigine, gabapentin and memantine. All drugs of abuse appear to modulate glutamatergic transmission, albeit by different mechanisms, and this modulation of glutamate transmission is believed to result in long-lasting neuroplastic changes in the brain that may contribute to the perseveration of drug-seeking behavior and drug-associated memories. In general, attenuation of glutamatergic transmission reduces drug reward, reinforcement, and relapse-like behavior. On the other hand, potentiation of glutamatergic transmission appears to facilitate the extinction of drug-seeking behavior. However, attempts at identifying genetic polymorphisms in components of glutamate transmission in humans have yielded only a limited number of candidate genes that may serve as risk factors for the development of addiction. Nonetheless, manipulation of glutamatergic neurotransmission appears to be a promising avenue of research in developing improved therapeutic agents for the treatment of drug addiction and alcoholism.
Project description:A rudimentary aesthetic sense is found in the stimulus valuations and cost-benefit decisions made by primitive generalist foragers. These are based on factors governing personal economic decisions: incentive, appetite, and learning. We find that the addictive process is an extreme expression of aesthetic dynamics. An interactive, agent-based model, ASIMOV, reproduces a simple aesthetic sense from known neural relations of cost-benefit decision in foraging. In the presence of very high reward, an addiction-like process emerges. A drug-like prey provides extreme reward with no nutritive value, initiating high selectivity and prolonged cravings for drug through reward learning. Varying reward experience, caused by homeostatic changes in the neural circuitry of reward, further establishes the course of addiction, consisting of desensitization, withdrawal, resensitization, and associated changes in nutritional choice and pain sensitivity. These observations are consistent with the early evolution of addiction mechanisms in simple generalist foragers as an aesthetic sense for evaluating prey. ASIMOV is accessible to inspection, modification, and experiment, is adaptable as an educational tool, and provides insight on the possible coevolutionary origins of aesthetics and the addiction process.