Addiction, compulsive drug seeking, and the role of frontostriatal mechanisms in regulating inhibitory control.

School of Psychology and Psychiatry, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia.
Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews (Impact Factor: 10.28). 03/2010; 35(2):248-75. DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2010.03.001
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A principal feature of drug addiction is a reduced ability to regulate control over the desire to procure drugs regardless of the risks involved. Traditional models implicated the neural 'reward' system in providing a neurobiological model of addiction. Newer models however, have expanded on this circuitry to include two separate, but interconnecting systems, the limbic system in the incentive sensitization of drugs, and the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in regulating inhibitory control over drug use. Until the recent developments in neuroimaging and brain stimulation techniques, it has been extremely difficult to assess the involvement of the PFC in addiction. In the current review, we explore the involvement of the frontostriatal circuitry in regulating inhibitory control, and suggest how dysregulation of these circuits could be involved in an increased difficulty in ceasing drug use. Following this, we investigate the recent neuropsychological, neuroimaging and brain stimulation studies that explore the presence of these inhibitory deficits, and frontostriatal dysfunctions, across various different substance groups. Further insight into these deficits could contribute to the development of treatment strategies which target these cognitive impairments, and frontostriatal dysfunction, in reducing drug-seeking behaviors.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In drug users, drug-related cues alone can induce dopamine release in the dorsal striatum. Instructive cues activate inputs to the striatum from both dopaminergic and cholinergic neurons, which are thought to work together to support motor learning and motivated behaviors. Imbalances in these neuromodulatory influences can impair normal action selection and might thus contribute to pathologically repetitive and compulsive behaviors such as drug addiction. Dopamine and acetylcholine can have either antagonistic or synergistic effects on behavior, depending on the state of the animal and the receptor signaling systems at play. Semi-synchronized activation of cholinergic interneurons in the dorsal striatum drives dopamine release via presynaptic nicotinic acetylcholine receptors located on dopamine terminals. Nicotinic receptor blockade is known to diminish abnormal repetitive behaviors (stereotypies) induced by psychomotor stimulants. By contrast, blockade of postsynaptic acetylcholine muscarinic receptors in the dorsomedial striatum exacerbates drug-induced stereotypy, exemplifying how different acetylcholine receptors can also have opposing effects. Although acetylcholine release is known to be altered in animal models of drug addiction, predicting whether these changes will augment or diminish drug-induced behaviors thus remains a challenge. Here, we measured amphetamine-induced stereotypy in BAC transgenic mice that have been shown to overexpress the vesicular acetylcholine transporter (VAChT) with consequent increased acetylcholine release. We found that drug-induced stereotypies, consisting of confined sniffing and licking behaviors, were greatly increased in the transgenic mice relative to sibling controls, as was striatal VAChT protein. These findings suggest that VAChT-mediated increases in acetylcholine could be critical in exacerbating drug-induced stereotypic behaviors and promoting exaggerated behavioral fixity.
    Frontiers in Neural Circuits 01/2014; 8:57. · 3.33 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Alcohol dependence, a chronic relapsing disorder, is characterized by an impaired ability to regulate compulsive urges to consume alcohol. Very few empirical studies have examined the presence of these executive deficits, how they relate to craving, and the enduring nature of these deficits during abstinence. As such, the current study aimed to characterize these cognitive deficits within a sample of 24 alcohol-dependent participants post-detoxification and 23 non-alcohol-dependent participants. Participants were administered the Sustained Attention to Response Task to measure response inhibition and sustained attention and the Random Number Generation Task to examine executive deficits. Correlations between cognitive performance and clinical measures of alcohol dependence were examined. As predicted, the alcohol-dependent group exhibited poorer performance across the domains of response inhibition, executive function, and attentional control. Cognitive performance was related to clinical measures of craving and years of alcohol consumption, whereas the duration of abstinence was not associated with improved cognitive performance. These findings highlight the need for therapeutic strategies to target these enduring neurocognitive deficits in improving the treatment of alcohol dependence.
    Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology 12/2013; · 2.00 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract Cognitive control refers to the internal representation, maintenance, and updating of context information in the service of exerting control over thoughts and behavior. Deficits in cognitive control likely contribute to difficulty in maintaining abstinence in individuals with alcohol use disorders (AUD). In this article, we define three cognitive control processes in detail (response inhibition, distractor interference control, and working memory), review the tasks measuring performance in these areas, and summarize the brain networks involved in carrying out these processes. Next, we review evidence of deficits in these processes in AUD, including both metrics of task performance and functional neuroimaging. Finally, we explore the clinical relevance of these deficits by identifying predictors of clinical outcome and markers that appear to change (improve) with treatment. We observe that individuals with AUD experience deficits in some, but not all, metrics of cognitive control. Deficits in cognitive control may predict clinical outcome in AUD, but more work is necessary to replicate findings. It is likely that performance on tasks requiring cognitive control improves with abstinence, and with some psychosocial and medication treatments. Future work should clarify which aspects of cognitive control are most important to target during treatment of AUD.
    Reviews in the neurosciences 12/2013; · 3.26 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 16, 2014