Volume 177 , 1 August 2017, Pages 268-276 Reward-related frontostriatal activity and smoking behavior among adolescents in treatment for smoking cessation Author links open overlay panel Kathleen A.Garrisona One of the first longitudinal fMRI studies of smoking cessation treatment in adolescents. Adolescents show increased non-drug reward-related brain activity pre- to post-treatment. Increases in reward-related brain activity were associated with smoking abstinence. Tobacco use is often initiated during adolescence and continued into adulthood despite desires to quit. A better understanding of the neural correlates of abstinence from smoking in adolescents may inform more effective smoking cessation interventions. Neural reward systems are implicated in tobacco use disorder, and adolescent smokers have shown reduced reward-related ventral striatal activation related to increased smoking. The current study evaluated nondrug reward anticipation in adolescent smokers using a monetary incentive delay task in fMRI pre- and post- smoking cessation treatment (n = 14). This study tested how changes in neural responses to reward anticipation pre- to post-treatment were related to reduced smoking. An exploratory analysis in a larger sample of adolescents with only pre-treatment fMRI (n = 28) evaluated how neural responses to reward anticipation were related to behavioral inhibition and behavioral activation scales. Adolescent smokers showed pre- to post-treatment increases in reward anticipation-related activity in the bilateral nucleus accumbens and insula, and medial prefrontal cortex, and greater increases in reward anticipation-related activity were correlated with larger percent days of smoking abstinence during treatment. These findings suggest that reduced smoking during smoking cessation treatment is associated with a “recovery of function” in frontostriatal responses to nondrug reward anticipation in adolescent smokers, although comparison with a developmental control group of adolescent nonsmokers is warranted.
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Subcortical white matter (WM), thalamus, cerebellar cortex, and corpus callosum were most affected. Higher cigarette pack-years related to smaller volumes in several subcortical regions. Magnetic resonance imaging studies of cigarette smoking-related effects on human brain structure have primarily employed voxel-based morphometry, and the most consistently reported finding was smaller volumes or lower density in anterior frontal regions and the insula. Much less is known about the effects of smoking on subcortical regions. We compared smokers and non-smokers on regional subcortical volumes, and predicted that smokers demonstrate greater age-related volume loss across subcortical regions than non-smokers. Non-smokers (n = 43) and smokers (n = 40), 22–70 years of age, completed a 4 T MRI study. Bilateral total subcortical lobar white matter (WM) and subcortical nuclei volumes were quantitated via FreeSurfer. In smokers, associations between smoking severity measures and subcortical volumes were examined. Smokers demonstrated greater age-related volume loss than non-smokers in the bilateral subcortical lobar WM, thalamus, and cerebellar cortex, as well as in the corpus callosum and subdivisions. In smokers, higher pack-years were associated with smaller volumes of the bilateral amygdala, nucleus accumbens, total corpus callosum and subcortical WM. Results provide novel evidence that chronic smoking in adults is associated with accelerated age-related volume loss in subcortical WM and GM nuclei.
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