The ventral and dorsal striatum are critical substrates of reward processing and motivation and have been repeatedly linked to addictive disorders, including nicotine dependence. However, little is known about how functional connectivity between these and other brain regions is modulated by smoking withdrawal and may contribute to relapse vulnerability. In the present study, 37 smokers completed resting state fMRI scans during both satiated and 24-h abstinent conditions, prior to engaging in a 3-week quit attempt supported by contingency management. We examined the effects of abstinence condition and smoking outcome (lapse vs non-lapse) on whole-brain connectivity with ventral and dorsal striatum seed regions. Results indicated a significant condition by lapse outcome interaction for both right and left ventral striatum seeds. Robust abstinence-induced increases in connectivity with bilateral ventral striatum were observed across a network of regions implicated in addictive disorders, including insula, superior temporal gyrus, and anterior/mid-cingulate cortex among non-lapsers; the opposite pattern was observed for those who later lapsed. For dorsal striatum seeds, 24-h abstinence decreased connectivity across both groups with several regions, including medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, hippocampus, and supplemental motor area. These findings suggest that modulation of striatal connectivity with the cingulo-insular network during early withdrawal may be associated with smoking cessation outcomes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health