Reward-Related Dorsal Striatal Activity Differences between Former and Current Cocaine Dependent Individuals during an Interactive Competitive Game
by Christopher J. Hyatt, Michal Assaf, Christine E. Muska, Rivkah I. Rosen, Andre D. Thomas, Matthew R. Johnson, Jennifer L. Hylton, Melissa M. Andrews, Brady A. Reynolds, John H. Krystal, Marc N. Potenza, Godfrey D. Pearlson
Cocaine addiction is characterized by impulsivity, impaired social relationships, and abnormal mesocorticolimbic reward processing, but their interrelationships relative to stages of cocaine addiction are unclear. We assessed blood-oxygenation-level dependent (BOLD) signal in ventral and dorsal striatum during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in current (CCD; n = 30) and former (FCD; n = 28) cocaine dependent subjects as well as healthy control (HC; n = 31) subjects while playing an interactive competitive Domino game involving risk-taking and reward/punishment processing. Out-of-scanner impulsivity-related measures were also collected. Although both FCD and CCD subjects scored significantly higher on impulsivity-related measures than did HC subjects, only FCD subjects had differences in striatal activation, specifically showing hypoactivation during their response to gains versus losses in right dorsal caudate, a brain region linked to habituation, cocaine craving and addiction maintenance. Right caudate activity in FCD subjects also correlated negatively with impulsivity-related measures of self-reported compulsivity and sensitivity to reward. These findings suggest that remitted cocaine dependence is associated with striatal dysfunction during social reward processing in a manner linked to compulsivity and reward sensitivity measures. Future research should investigate the extent to which such differences might reflect underlying vulnerabilities linked to cocaine-using propensities (e.g., relapses).
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