Neural correlates of attentional bias for smoking cues: modulation by variance in the dopamine transporter gene.
ABSTRACT Cigarette-dependent smokers automatically and involuntarily orient attention toward smoking cues (SCs). This attentional bias is clinically significant, as it may contribute to relapse. Thus, identifying neural and genetic correlates of attentional bias is critical for improving interventions. Our previous studies show that the dopamine transporter (DAT) SLC6A3 genotype exerts profound effects on limbic responses to SCs. One potential mechanism underlying these effects is greater attentional bias for SCs. Here, we explored associations between attentional bias for SCs and neural responses to SCs among 'sated' smokers genotyped for the SLC6A3 polymorphism. Pseudo-continuous arterial spin-labeled perfusion functional magnetic resonance imaging images were acquired during SC exposure in 35 smokers genotyped for the SLC6A3 variable number of tandem repeats polymorphism (n = 16, 9-repeats; n = 19, 10/10-repeats). Participants completed a visual dot-probe attentional bias task, which contained pictures of smoking and non-smoking pictures, to examine whether genetic variation in DAT influences attentional bias and to investigate relationships between attentional bias and neural responses to SCs. Although attentional bias to smoking pictures was not significantly different between 9-repeats and 10/10-repeats, 9-repeats showed a positive correlation between attentional bias and increased SC-induced brain activity in the amygdala, whereas 10/10-repeats showed an inverse correlation in the medial orbitofrontal cortex (mOFC). In group comparisons, 9-repeats exhibited positive correlations between attentional bias and SCs in the mOFC and amygdala, relative to 10/10-repeats. Findings suggest that genetic variation in the DAT gene influences brain responses associated with attentional bias; thus, providing additional support for a SC-vulnerable endophenotype.
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ABSTRACT: Cigarette smoke contains nicotine and toxic chemicals and may cause significant neurochemical and anatomical brain changes. Voxel-based morphometry studies have examined the effects of smoking on the brain by comparing gray matter volume (GMV) in nicotine dependent individuals (NDs) to nonsmoking individuals with inconsistent results. Although sex differences in neural and behavioral features of nicotine dependence are reported, sex differences in regional GMV remain unknown. The current study examined sex differences in GMV in a large sample of 80 NDs (41 males) and 80 healthy controls (41 males) using voxel-based morphometry. Within NDs, we explored whether GMV was correlated with measures of cigarette use and nicotine dependence. High-resolution T1 structural scans were obtained from all participants. Segmentation and registration were performed in SPM8 using the optimized DARTEL approach. Covariates included age and an estimate of total global GMV. Differences were considered significant at p≤0.001, with a whole brain FWE-corrected cluster probability of p<0.025. Among NDs compared to Controls less GMV was observed in the thalamus and bilateral cerebellum and greater GMV was observed in the bilateral putamen and right parahippocampus. Lower thalamic GMV was observed in both female and male NDs compared to Controls. Female NDs also had lower GMV in the left cerebellum and in the ventral medial and orbitofrontal cortices with no areas of greater GMV. Male NDs had lower GMV in bilateral cerebellum and greater GMV in bilateral parahippocampus and left putamen. Within male NDs, GMV in the left putamen was correlated with number of pack years. This study, conducted in a large cohort, contributes to our knowledge of brain morphology in nicotine addiction and provides additional evidence of sex-specific effects on GMV in NDs. Identifying brain vulnerabilities with respect to sex provides a methodological framework for personalized therapies to improve relapse rates for both sexes.PLoS ONE 08/2014; 9(8):e104102. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0104102 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The activation of motivational systems by stimuli in the environment that are associated with rewarding experiences is able to trigger plastic changes in the brain, thereby altering the attentional priority of those stimuli. As a result, attentional deployment is often abnormal in addiction, with drug-related stimuli attracting attention automatically and gaining control over behavior. For example, smokers show attentional biases toward smoke-related cues, but the mechanisms underlying these effects and the nature of their link to addiction are still debated. Here, we investigated the influence of gender and individual factors on the temporal dynamics of attentional deployment toward smoke-related stimuli in young smokers. Crucially, we found a striking gender difference, with only males exhibiting a typical attentional bias for smoke-related items, and the bias revealed strong time dependency. Additionally, for both males and females, various personality traits and smoking habits predicted the direction and strength of the measured bias. Overall, these results unveil a crucial influence of several predictors-notably, gender-on the biases of attention toward smoke-related items in chronic smokers.Cognitive Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience 04/2014; 14(2). DOI:10.3758/s13415-014-0287-6 · 3.21 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A substantial amount of evidence suggests that dysfunction of the dopamine transporter may be involved in the pathophysiology of amphetamine dependence (AD). The aim of this study was to examine whether the dopamine transporter gene (DAT1, SLC6A3) is associated with development of AD and whether this gene influences personality traits in patients with AD. Eighteen polymorphisms of the DAT1 gene were analyzed in a case-control study that included 909 Han Chinese men (568 patients with AD and 341 control subjects). The patients fulfilled the DSM-IV-TR criteria for AD. The Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire (TPQ) was used to assess personality traits and to examine the association between these traits and DAT1 gene variants. A weak association was found between the rs27072 polymorphism and development of AD, but these borderline associations were unconfirmed by logistic regression and haplotype analysis. Although harm avoidance and novelty seeking scores were significantly higher in patients than in controls, DAT1 polymorphisms did not influence these scores. This study suggests that high harm avoidance and novelty seeking personality traits may be a risk factor for the development of AD. However, the DAT1 gene may not contribute to AD susceptibility and specific personality traits observed in AD among Han Chinese men. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.Drug and Alcohol Dependence 02/2015; 149. DOI:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.01.030 · 3.28 Impact Factor