Abstinence duration modulates striatal functioning during monetary reward processing in cocaine patients

Authors

  • Juan-Carlos Bustamante,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Basic Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, Universitat Jaume I, Spain
    • Correspondence to: Juan-Carlos Bustamante, Departamento de Psicología Básica, Clínica y Psicobiología, Edificio de Investigación 2, Universitat Jaume I de Castellón, Avda. Sos Baynat s/n, 12071 Castellón de la Plana, Spain. E-mail: jbustama@uji.es

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  • Alfonso Barrós-Loscertales,

    1. Department of Basic Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, Universitat Jaume I, Spain
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  • Víctor Costumero,

    1. Department of Basic Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, Universitat Jaume I, Spain
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  • Paola Fuentes-Claramonte,

    1. Department of Basic Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, Universitat Jaume I, Spain
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  • Patricia Rosell-Negre,

    1. Department of Basic Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, Universitat Jaume I, Spain
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  • Noelia Ventura-Campos,

    1. Department of Basic Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, Universitat Jaume I, Spain
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  • Juan-José Llopis,

    1. Department of Basic Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, Universitat Jaume I, Spain
    2. Addictive Behaviors Unit San Agustín, Spain
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  • César Ávila

    1. Department of Basic Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, Universitat Jaume I, Spain
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Abstract

Pre-clinical and clinical studies in cocaine addiction highlight alterations in the striatal dopaminergic reward system that subserve maintenance of cocaine use. Using an instrumental conditioning paradigm with monetary reinforcement, we studied striatal functional alterations in long-term abstinent cocaine-dependent patients and striatal functioning as a function of abstinence and treatment duration. Eighteen patients and 20 controls underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging during a Monetary Incentive Delay task. Region of interest analyses based on masks of the dorsal and ventral striatum were conducted to test between-group differences and the functional effects in the cocaine group of time (in months) with no more than two lapses from the first time patients visited the clinical service to seek treatment at the scanning time (duration of treatment), and the functional effects of the number of months with no lapses or relapses at the scanning session time (length of abstinence). We applied a voxel-wise and a cluster-wise FWE-corrected level (pFWE) at a threshold of P < 0.05. The patient group showed lower activation in the right caudate during reward anticipation than the control group. The regression analyses in the patients group revealed a positive correlation between duration of treatment and brain activity in the left caudate during reward anticipation. Likewise, length of abstinence negatively correlated with brain activity in the bilateral nucleus accumbens during monetary outcome processing. In conclusion, caudate and nucleus accumbens show a different brain response pattern to non-drug rewards during cocaine addiction, which can be modulated by treatment success.

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