The neurobiology of cognitive control in successful cocaine abstinence

Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, USA.
Drug and alcohol dependence (Impact Factor: 3.42). 08/2011; 121(1-2):45-53. DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2011.08.007
Source: PubMed


Extensive evidence demonstrates that current cocaine abusers show hypoactivity in anterior cingulate and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and respond poorly relative to drug-naïve controls on tests of executive function. Relatively little is known about the cognitive sequelae of long-term abstinence in cocaine addicts.
Here, we use a GO-NOGO task in which successful performance necessitated withholding a prepotent response to assay cognitive control in short- and long-term abstinent cocaine users (1-5 weeks and 40-102 weeks, respectively).
We report significantly greater activity in prefrontal, cingulate, cerebellar and inferior frontal gyrii in abstinent cocaine users for both successful response inhibitions and errors of commission. Moreover, this relative hyperactivity was present in both abstinent groups, which, in the presence of comparable behavioral performance, suggests a functional compensation.
Differences between the short- and long-abstinence groups in the patterns of functional recruitment suggest different cognitive control demands at different stages in abstinence. Short-term abstinence showed increased inhibition-related dorsolateral and inferior frontal activity indicative of the need for increased inhibitory control while long-term abstinence showed increased error-related ACC activity indicative of heightened behavioral monitoring. The results suggest that the integrity of prefrontal systems that underlie cognitive control functions may be an important characteristic of successful long-term abstinence.

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Available from: John J Foxe, Oct 05, 2015
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    • "Error processing refers to monitoring performance, detecting errors, and modifying behaviour adaptively in the absence of overt reinforcement (Holroyd and Coles, 2002). Error processing dysfunction has been demonstrated in several psychiatric conditions, including schizophrenia (Becerril et al., 2011; Mathalon et al., 2009; Morris et al., 2008), depression (Chiu and Deldin, 2007; Steele et al., 2004; Tucker et al., 2003) and a range of drug dependencies (Connolly et al., 2012; Easdon et al., 2005; Forman et al., 2004; Li et al., 2010). In all these conditions, the dysfunction is characterised by hypoactivity in the error-related network, most consistently in the dorsal anterior cingulate gyrus (dACC). "
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    ABSTRACT: The chronic use of cannabis has been associated with error processing dysfunction, in particular, hypoactivity in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) during the processing of cognitive errors. Given the role of such activity in influencing post-error adaptive behaviour, we hypothesised that chronic cannabis users would have significantly poorer learning from errors. Fifteen chronic cannabis users (four females, mean age=22.40 years, SD=4.29) and 15 control participants (two females, mean age=23.27 years, SD=3.67) were administered a paired associate learning task that enabled participants to learn from their errors, during fMRI data collection. Compared with controls, chronic cannabis users showed (i) a lower recall error-correction rate and (ii) hypoactivity in the dACC and left hippocampus during the processing of error-related feedback and re-encoding of the correct response. The difference in error-related dACC activation between cannabis users and healthy controls varied as a function of error type, with the control group showing a significantly greater difference between corrected and repeated errors than the cannabis group. The present results suggest that chronic cannabis users have poorer learning from errors, with the failure to adapt performance associated with hypoactivity in error-related dACC and hippocampal regions. The findings highlight a consequence of performance monitoring dysfunction in drug abuse and the potential consequence this cognitive impairment has for the symptom of failing to learn from negative feedback seen in cannabis and other forms of dependence. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Drug and alcohol dependence 07/2015; 155. DOI:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.07.671 · 3.42 Impact Factor
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    • "That is, certain individuals or groups may differ in the frequency with which they commit errors, and/or in the reactivity they show upon committing such errors. One important individual difference is the presence of a substance use disorder (SUD), a psychopathology marked by pervasive and disruptive neurocognitive disruptions (e.g., in error-related processing) that modulate the severity and course of the disease [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19]. Our goal in the current study was to explore whether error-related processing in SUD is further modulated by another potentially important individual difference: opioid system genetics [specifically , a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) of the protein-coding proenkephalin gene (PENK: rs2609997)]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic exposure to drugs of abuse perturbs the endogenous opioid system, which plays a critical role in the development and maintenance of addictive disorders. Opioid genetics may therefore play an important modulatory role in the expression of substance use disorders, but these genes have not been extensively characterized, especially in humans. In the current imaging genetics study, we investigated a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) of the protein-coding proenkephalin gene ( PENK: rs2609997, recently shown to be associated with cannabis dependence) in 55 individuals with cocaine use disorder and 37 healthy controls. Analyses tested for PENK associations with fMRI response to error (during a classical color-word Stroop task) and gray matter volume (voxel-based morphometry) as a function of Diagnosis (cocaine, control). Results revealed whole-brain Diagnosis × PENK interactions on the neural response to errors (fMRI error>correct contrast) in the right putamen, left rostral anterior cingulate cortex/medial orbitofrontal cortex, and right inferior frontal gyrus; there was also a significant Diagnosis × PENK interaction on right inferior frontal gyrus gray matter volume. These interactions were driven by differences between individuals with cocaine use disorders and controls that were accentuated in individuals carrying the higher-risk PENK C-allele. Taken together, the PENK polymorphism - and potentially opioid neurotransmission more generally - modulates functioning and structural integrity of brain regions previously implicated in error-related processing. PENK could potentially render a subgroup of individuals with cocaine use disorder (i.e., C-allele carriers) more sensitive to mistakes or other related challenges; in future studies, these results could contribute to the development of individualized genetics-informed treatments. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    Behavioural brain research 07/2015; 293. DOI:10.1016/j.bbr.2015.07.004 · 3.03 Impact Factor
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    • "The processes involved in inhibition are hypothesized to share similar mechanisms to the ability to inhibit the drug-seeking response and later relapse behaviors [19]. Indeed, inhibition has also been recognized as a primary predictor of longterm abstinence [20]. Performing inhibition requires structure and functional integrity and involves several brain regions, including the inferior frontal lobe, parietal lobe, and basal ganglia [21]. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study aimed to determine the effect of acute exercise in the potential context of non-pharmacological intervention for methamphetamine (MA)-related craving; we additionally determine its effect on the inhibitory control induced by standard and MA-related tasks according to behavioral and neuroelectric measurements among MA-dependent individuals. The present study employed a within-subjects, counterbalanced design. A total of 24 participants who met the DSM-IV criteria for MA dependence were recruited. The craving level, reaction time, and response accuracy, as well as the event-related potential (ERP) components N2 and P3, were measured following exercise and the control treatment in a counterbalanced order. The exercise session consisted of an acute stationary cycle exercise at a moderate intensity, whereas the control treatment consisted of an active reading session. The self-reported MA craving was significantly attenuated during, immediately following, and 50min after the exercise session compared with the pre-exercise ratings, whereas the craving scores at these time points following exercise were lower than those for the reading control session. Acute exercise also facilitated inhibitory performance in both the standard and MA-related Go/Nogo tasks. A larger N2 amplitude, but not a larger P3 amplitude, was observed during both tasks in the exercise session and the Nogo condition compared with the reading control session and the Go condition. This is the first empirical study to demonstrate these beneficial effects of acute aerobic exercise at a moderate intensity on MA-related craving and inhibitory control in MA-dependent individuals. These results suggest a potential role for acute aerobic exercise in treating this specific type of substance abuse. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    Physiology & Behavior 04/2015; 147. DOI:10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.04.008 · 2.98 Impact Factor
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