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An fMRI investigation of the impact of withdrawal on regional brain activity during nicotine anticipation


  • The authors thank the staff at the University of Wisconsin, Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention for their support. This research was supported by a Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center Award (TBB) P50DA19706 from the National Institutes on Drug Abuse.

Address reprint requests to: Rebecca Gloria, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1202 West Johnson Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA. E-mail:


Previous research indicates that drug motivational systems are instantiated in structures that process information related to incentive, motivational drive, memorial, motor/habit, craving, and cognitive control processing. The present research tests the hypothesis that activity in such systems will be powerfully affected by the combination of drug anticipation and drug withdrawal. Event-related fMRI was used to examine activation in response to a preinfusion warning cue in two experimental sessions that manipulated withdrawal status. Significant cue-induced effects were seen in the caudate, ventral anterior nucleus of the thalamus, the insula, subcallosal gyrus, nucleus accumbens, and anterior cingulate. These results suggest that withdrawal and nicotine anticipation produce (1) different motor preparatory and inhibitory response processing and (2) different craving related processing.