Payer DE, Lieberman MD, Monterosso JR, Xu J, Fong TW, London ED. Differences in cortical activity between methamphetamine-dependent and healthy individuals performing a facial affect matching task. Drug Alcohol Depend 93: 93-102

Neuroscience Interdepartmental Program, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1759, USA.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence (Impact Factor: 3.42). 02/2008; 93(1-2):93-102. DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2007.09.009
Source: PubMed


As individuals who abuse methamphetamine (MA) often exhibit socially maladaptive behaviors such as violence and aggression, it is possible that they respond abnormally to social cues. To investigate this issue, we exposed 12 MA-dependent participants (abstinent 5-16 days) and 12 healthy comparison participants to fearful and angry faces while they performed an affect matching task during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Although the groups did not differ in task performance, the healthy participants showed more task-related activity than the MA-dependent participants in a set of cortical regions consisting of the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC), temporoparietal junction (TPJ), anterior and posterior temporal cortex, and fusiform gyrus in the right hemisphere, and the cuneus in the left hemisphere. In contrast, the MA-dependent participants showed more task-related activity than the healthy participants in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC). As expected, the task elicited activation of the amygdala in both groups; however, contrary to expectation, we found no difference between groups in this activation. Dorsal ACC hyperactivity, along with high self-ratings of hostility and interpersonal sensitivity in the MA-dependent group, suggest a hyper-sensitivity to socially threatening cues in the MA-dependent participants, while lower VLPFC activation could point to a deficit in integrating socio-emotional information and/or regulating this limbic hyperactivity. Additional activation differences in neural circuitry related to social cognition (TPJ, anterior, and posterior temporal cortex) suggest further socio-emotional deficits. Together, the results point to cortical abnormalities that could underlie the socially inappropriate behaviors often shown by individuals who abuse MA.

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    • "large-scale intrinsic networks: the dorsal anterior-insula network, which is linked with cognitive performance, and the ventral anterior insula network that shapes performance in affective tasks (Touroutoglou et al., 2012). In addition, the dACC is involved in social cognition (Payer et al., 2008), which requires the integration of affective and cognitive processing. Finally, the dACC synchronizes with the hippocampus during complex multi-domain processes (Guitart-Masip et al., 2013). "
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    • "Additionally, it was demonstrated that compulsive gamblers performed worse on a reversal learning task and had less rVLPFC activity than did healthy controls (de Ruiter et al., 2009). Furthermore, individuals who abuse methamphetamine were shown to have less rVLPFC activity on an incidental aff ect labeling task (Payer et al., 2008), as well as a trend toward a lower right IFG gray matter concentration in individuals who abuse methamphetamine than healthy control participants (Payer, Lieberman, & London, 2011). Th is literature underscores that not only do people with impulsivityrelated disorders have behavioral problems with self-control , but that the neural mechanisms underlying self-control may be impaired as well. "

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    • "The involvement of rIFG in self-control across the affective, behavioral, and cognitive domains makes it a promising candidate to serve as a final common pathway for distinct forms of self-control (Cohen, Berkman, & Lieberman, in press). Indirect evidence that rIFG is a shared locus of self-control—and may be an appropriate target for intervention work—comes from methamphetamine abusers, who demonstrate specific deficits in self-control across motor, cognitive, and affective domains (Monterosso, Aron, Cordova, Xu, & London, 2005; Payer et al., 2008; Salo et al., 2002) and show structural differences in the rIFG in comparison with control subjects (Thompson et al., 2004). "
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