Alcohol-associated stimuli activate the ventral striatum in abstinent alcoholics

Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, Federal Republic of Germany.
Journal of Neural Transmission (Impact Factor: 2.4). 02/2001; 108(7):887-94. DOI: 10.1007/s007020170038
Source: PubMed


Alcohol-associated cues may act as conditioned stimuli that activate the brain reward system and motivate alcohol intake in alcoholics. Alcohol-associated visual stimuli were presented during functional magnetic resonance imaging. An activation of the ventral putamen was observed in alcoholics but not in control subjects. Patients with a strong activation of the ventral putamen relapsed during the next three months. This observation supports the hypothesis that alcohol use affects areas involved in brain reward circuits and that their stimulus-induced activation may be associated with an increased risk for relapse.

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    • "• Patients who relapsed within 3 months after discharge had lower levels of dopamine during detoxification than patients who did not relapse, according to a study that measured dopamine in 21 AUD inpatients using [ 123 I] iodobenzamide (IBZM) single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) (Guardia et al. 2000). showed increased activity in part of the striatum, called the ventral putamen, when viewing visual alcohol cues during the early weeks of abstinence (at least 1 week after detoxification) (Braus et al. 2001). • On the other hand, recently detoxified (1 to 3 weeks) alcoholic patients with a blunted striatal response to positive emotional pictures relative to neutral pictures had a greater number of drinking days and a higher amount of alcohol consumed during the 6-month followup (Heinz et al. 2007). "
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    • "One of the earliest studies on potential brain correlates of craving in subjects with Internet (gaming) addiction was reported by Ko et al. (2009). They studied excessive World-of-Warcraft (WoW) players (all participants played at least 30 h a week) with fMRI using a picture paradigm, which is comparable with those previously used in alcohol addiction research (e.g., Braus et al., 2001; Grüsser et al., 2004). The results were very similar to those reported in substance-dependent individuals (Schacht et al., 2013). "
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