Frontoparietal cortical activity of methamphetamine-dependent and comparison subjects performing a delay discounting task

Authors

  • John R. Monterosso,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, California
    2. Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, California
    • Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, 760 Westwood Plaza, Room C8-528, Los Angeles, CA 90024
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  • George Ainslie,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Coatesville, Pennsylvania
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  • Jiansong Xu,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, California
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  • Xochitl Cordova,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, California
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  • Catherine P. Domier,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, California
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  • Edythe D. London

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, California
    2. Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, University of California, Los Angeles, California
    3. Brain Research Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California
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Abstract

Relative to individuals who do not have addictive disorders, drug abusers exhibit greater devaluation of rewards as a function of their delay (“delay discounting”). The present study sought to extend this finding to methamphetamine (MA) abusers and to help understand its neural basis. MA abusers (n = 12) and control subjects who did not use illicit drugs (n = 17) participated in tests of delay discounting with hypothetical money rewards. We then used a derived estimate of each individual's delay discounting to generate a functional magnetic resonance imaging probe task consisting of three conditions: “hard choices,” requiring selections between “smaller, sooner” and “larger, later” alternatives that were similarly valued given the individual's delay discounting; “easy choices,” in which alternatives differed dramatically in value; and a “no choice” control condition. MA abusers exhibited more delay discounting than control subjects (P < 0.05). Across groups, the “hard choice > no choice” contrast revealed significant effects in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, and areas surrounding the intraparietal sulcus (IPS). With group comparisons limited to these clusters, the “hard choice > easy choice” contrast indicated significant group differences in task-related activity within the left DLPFC and right IPS; qualitatively similar nonsignificant effects were present in the other clusters tested. Whereas control subjects showed less recruitment associated with easy than with hard choices, MA abusers generally did not. Correlational analysis did not indicate a relationship between this anomaly in frontoparietal recruitment and greater degree of delay discounting exhibited by MA abusers. Therefore, while apparent inefficiency of cortical processing related to decision-making in MA abusers may contribute to the neural basis of enhanced delay discounting by this population, other factors remain to be identified. Hum. Brain Mapp, 2007. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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