Individual differences in nicotine dependence, withdrawal symptoms, and sex predict transient fMRI-BOLD responses to smoking cues.
Exposure to smoking cues increases craving for cigarettes and can precipitate relapse. Whereas brain imaging studies have identified a distinct network of brain regions subserving the processing of smoking cues, little is known about the influence of individual difference factors and withdrawal symptoms on brain cue reactivity. Multiple regression analysis was used to evaluate relations between individual difference factors and withdrawal symptoms and event-related blood oxygen level-dependent responses to visual smoking cues in a sample of 30 smokers. Predictors were self-report nicotine dependence (Fagerström test of nicotine dependence, FTND), prescan withdrawal symptoms (craving and negative affect), and sex. The unique variance of each predictor was examined after controlling for each of the others. Positive associations were observed between FTND and reactivity to cues in right anterior cingulate and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) whereas negative associations were observed between prescan craving and reactivity in ventral striatum. Higher negative affect or being male was associated with greater reactivity in left hippocampus and left OFC. Women exhibited greater cue reactivity than men in regions including the cuneus and left superior temporal gyrus. Individual difference factors and withdrawal symptoms were uniquely associated with brain reactivity to smoking cues in regions subserving reward, affect, attention, motivation, and memory. These findings provide further evidence that reactivity to conditioned drug cues is multiply determined and suggest that smoking cessation treatments designed to reduce cue reactivity focus on each of these variables.
McClernon, FJ; Kozink, RV; Rose, JE
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