Smoking Reduces Conflict-Related Anterior Cingulate Activity in Abstinent Cigarette Smokers Performing a Stroop Task

Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.
Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (Impact Factor: 7.05). 11/2009; 35(3):775-82. DOI: 10.1038/npp.2009.186
Source: PubMed


Prior research suggests that abrupt initiation of abstinence from cigarette smoking reduces neural cognitive efficiency. When cognitive efficiency is high, processing speed and accuracy are maximized with minimal allocation of cognitive resources. The study presented here tested the effects of resumption of smoking on cognitive response conflict after overnight abstinence from smoking, hypothesizing that smoking would enhance cognitive efficiency. Twenty paid research volunteers who were chronic cigarette smokers abstained from smoking overnight (>12 h) before undergoing fMRI while performing a color-word Stroop task during two separate test sessions: one that did not include smoking before testing and another one that did. Statistical analyses were performed by modeling the Stroop effect (incongruent >congruent) BOLD response within a collection of a priori regions of interest that have consistently been associated with cognitive control. Behavioral assessment alone did not reveal any significant differences in the Stroop effect between the two sessions. BOLD activations, however, indicated that in the right anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), smokers had significantly less task-related activity following smoking (p<0.02). In contrast, the right middle frontal gyrus exhibited significantly greater activity after smoking as compared to the no-smoking session (p<0.003). Exaggerated neural activity in the ACC during nicotine withdrawal may reflect a compensatory mechanism by which cognitive control networks expend excessive energy to support selective attention processes. Resumption of smoking may enhance cognitive control in smokers, involving a reduction in ACC response conflict activity together with improvement in conflict resolution involving the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.

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    • "Our first finding relates to task-related brain activity during smoking versus control cue videos. The difference between active smokers and non-smokers were in line with previous results that showed increased activation in ACC induced by smoking-related stimuli (Brody et al. 2007; Wang et al. 2007; Azizian et al. 2010). However, the contrast between ex-smokers and non-smokers showed increased activation in anterior regions, such as the raINS and the FP, but not in the ACC. "
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    ABSTRACT: Although many smokers try to quit smoking, only about 20-25 percent will achieve abstinence despite 6 months or more of gold-standard treatment. This low success rate suggests long-term changes in the brain related to smoking, which remain poorly understood. We compared ex-smokers to both active smokers and non-smokers using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to explore persistent modifications in brain activity and network organization. This prospective and consecutive study includes 18 non-smokers (29.5 ± 6.7 years of age, 11 women), 14 smokers (≥10 cigarettes a day >2 years of smoking, 29.3 ± 6.0 years of age, 10 women) and 14 ex-smokers (>1 year of quitting 30.5 ± 5.7 years of age, 10 women). Participants underwent a block-design fMRI study contrasting smoking cue with control (neutral cue) videos. Data analyses included task-related general linear model, seed-based functional connectivity, voxel-based morphometry (VBM) of gray matter and tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) of white matter. Smoking cue videos versus control videos activated the right anterior insula in ex-smokers compared with smokers, an effect correlating with cumulative nicotine intake (pack-years). Moreover, ex-smokers had a persistent decrease in functional connectivity between right anterior insula and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) compared with control participants, but similar to active smokers. Potentially confounding alterations in gray or white matter were excluded in VBM and TBSS analyses. In summary, ex-smokers with long-term nicotine abstinence have persistent and dose-dependent brain network changes notably in the right anterior insula and its connection to the ACC. © 2015 Society for the Study of Addiction.
    Addiction Biology 08/2015; DOI:10.1111/adb.12292 · 5.36 Impact Factor
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    • "On the basis of previous reports of the neuronal underpinnings of smoking addiction (Canterberry et al., 2013; Hanlon et al., 2013; Li et al., 2013; Hartwell et al., 2011; Azizian et al., 2009; Brody et al., 2007; Smolka et al., 2006; Due et al., 2002; Ernst et al., 2001), bilateral ACC, medial pFC, and OFC areas were defined as the anterior ROIs (ROIs1), and bilateral posterior cingulate cortex and precuneus areas were defined as the posterior ROIs (ROIs2; Table 2). The anterior part of the brain (i.e., ROIs1) has been widely reported as a cigarette-craving-related brain region (Lee, Kim, & Kim, 2012; Hartwell et al., 2011; Azizian et al., 2009; Brody et al., 2007; Due et al., 2002) and has been utilized in previous rtfMRI studies on cigarette craving/ resistance (Canterberry et al., 2013; Hanlon et al., 2013; Li et al., 2013). However, the involvement of the posterior part of the brain (i.e., ROIs2) in cigarette craving is unclear (Hartwell et al., 2011; Brody et al., 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Real-time fMRI (rtfMRI) neurofeedback (NF) facilitates volitional control over brain activity and the modulation of associated mental functions. The NF signals of traditional rtfMRI-NF studies predominantly reflect neuronal activity within ROIs. In this study, we describe a novel rtfMRI-NF approach that includes a functional connectivity (FC) component in the NF signal (FC-added rtfMRI-NF). We estimated the efficacy of the FC-added rtfMRI-NF method by applying it to nicotine-dependent heavy smokers in an effort to reduce cigarette craving. ACC and medial pFC as well as the posterior cingulate cortex and precuneus are associated with cigarette craving and were chosen as ROIs. Fourteen heavy smokers were randomly assigned to receive one of two types of NF: traditional activity-based rtfMRI-NF or FC-added rtfMRI-NF. Participants received rtfMRI-NF training during two separate visits after overnight smoking cessation, and cigarette craving score was assessed. The FC-added rtfMRI-NF resulted in greater neuronal activity and increased FC between the targeted ROIs than the traditional activity-based rtfMRI-NF and resulted in lower craving score. In the FC-added rtfMRI-NF condition, the average of neuronal activity and FC was tightly associated with craving score (Bonferroni-corrected p = .028). However, in the activity-based rtfMRI-NF condition, no association was detected (uncorrected p > .081). Non-rtfMRI data analysis also showed enhanced neuronal activity and FC with FC-added NF than with activity-based NF. These results demonstrate that FC-added rtfMRI-NF facilitates greater volitional control over brain activity and connectivity and greater modulation of mental function than activity-based rtfMRI-NF.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 03/2015; 27(8):1-21. DOI:10.1162/jocn_a_00802 · 4.09 Impact Factor
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    • "In support, Hershey et al. [33] also suggested that parietal over-activity is either an underlying cause of poor inhibition or a response to failures of inhibition (e.g., increased attention or error monitoring following false alarms). The cognitive inefficiency observed in the IA group in the present study could arise from impaired "top-down" cognitive-control processes, which have been associated with increased neural activity in the ACC [57], and have been observed in nicotine-dependent participants performing the Stroop and working memory tasks [58-60]. Consistent with a previous study [27], we also found hyperactivity in the ACC. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Recent studies suggest that Internet gaming addiction (IGA) is an impulse disorder, or is at least related to impulse control disorders. In the present study, we hypothesized that different facets of trait impulsivity may be specifically linked to the brain regions with impaired impulse inhibition function in IGA adolescents. Methods Seventeen adolescents with IGA and seventeen healthy controls were scanned during performance of a response-inhibition Go/No-Go task using a 3.0 T MRI scanner. The Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS)-11 was used to assess impulsivity. Results There were no differences in the behavioral performance on the Go/No-Go task between the groups. However, the IGA group was significantly hyperactive during No-Go trials in the left superior medial frontal gyrus, right anterior cingulate cortex, right superior/middle frontal gyrus, left inferior parietal lobule, left precentral gyrus, and left precuneus and cuneus. Further, the bilateral middle temporal gyrus, bilateral inferior temporal gyrus, and right superior parietal lobule were significantly hypoactive during No-Go trials. Activation of the left superior medial frontal gyrus was positively associated with BIS-11 and Chen Internet Addiction Scale (CIAS) total score across IGA participants. Conclusions Our data suggest that the prefrontal cortex may be involved in the circuit modulating impulsivity, while its impaired function may relate to high impulsivity in adolescents with IGA, which may contribute directly to the Internet addiction process.
    Behavioral and Brain Functions 05/2014; 10(1):20. DOI:10.1186/1744-9081-10-20 · 1.97 Impact Factor
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