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.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The ventral tegmental area is strongly associated with the reward system. Dopamine is released in areas such as the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex as a result of rewarding experiences such as food, sex, and neutral stimuli that become associated with them. Electrical stimulation of the ventral tegmental area or its output pathways can itself serve as a potent reward. Different drugs that increase dopamine levels are intrinsically rewarding. Although the dopaminergic system represent the cornerstone of the reward system, other neurotransmitters such as endogenous opioids, glutamate, gamma-Aminobutyric acid, acetylcholine, serotonin, adenosine, endocannabinoids, orexins, galanin and histamine all affect this mesolimbic dopaminergic system. Consequently, genetic variations of neurotransmission are thought influence reward processing that in turn may affect distinctive social behavior and susceptibility to addiction. Here, we discuss current evidence on the orquestic regulation of different neurotranmitters on reward-seeking behavior and its potential effect on drug addiction.
    International Archives of Medicine 06/2014; 7:29. · 1.08 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Craving is recognized as an important diagnosis criterion for substance use disorders (SUDs) and a predictive factor of relapse. Various methods to study craving exist; however, suppressing craving to successfully promote abstinence remains an unmet clinical need in SUDs. One reason is that social and environmental contexts recalling drug and alcohol consumption in the everyday life of patients suffering from SUDs often initiate craving and provoke relapse. Current behavioral therapies for SUDs use the cue-exposure approach to suppress salience of social and environmental contexts that may induce craving.They facil- itate learning and cognitive reinforcement of new behavior and entrain craving suppression in the presence of cues related to drug and alcohol consumption. Unfortunately, craving often overweighs behavioral training especially in real social and environmental contexts with peer pressure encouraging the use of substance, such as parties and bars. In this perspective, virtual reality (VR) is gaining interest in the development of cue-reactivity par- adigms and practices new skills in treatment. VR enhances ecological validity of traditional craving-induction measurement. In this review, we discuss results from (1) studies using VR and alternative virtual agents in the induction of craving and (2) studies combining cue- exposure therapy with VR in the promotion of abstinence from drugs and alcohol use. They used virtual environments, displaying alcohol and drugs to SUD patients. Moreover, some environments included avatars. Hence, some studies have focused on the social interac- tions that are associated with drug-seeking behaviors and peer pressure. Findings indicate that VR can successfully increase craving. Studies combining cue–exposure therapy with virtual environment, however, reported mitigated success so far.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 10/2014; 8(1):1-15. · 2.91 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [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

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 16, 2014