To support the free and open dissemination of research findings and information on alcoholism and alcohol-related problems. To encourage open access to peer-reviewed articles free for all to view.

For full versions of posted research articles readers are encouraged to email requests for "electronic reprints" (text file, PDF files, FAX copies) to the corresponding or lead author, who is highlighted in the posting.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Fronto-striatal functional connectivity during response inhibition in alcohol dependence

Poor response inhibition has been implicated in the development of alcohol dependence, yet little is known about how neural pathways underlying cognitive control are affected in this disorder. Moreover, endogenous opioid levels may impact the functionality of inhibitory control pathways.

This study investigated the relationship between alcohol dependence severity and functional connectivity of fronto-striatal networks during response inhibition in an alcohol-dependent sample. A secondary aim of this study was to test the moderating effect of a functional polymorphism (A118G) of the μ-opioid receptor (OPRM1) gene. 

Twenty individuals with alcohol dependence (six females; 90% Caucasian; mean age = 29.4) who were prospectively genotyped on the OPRM1 gene underwent blood oxygen level-dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging while performing a Stop-Signal Task. The relationship between alcohol dependence severity and functional connectivity within fronto-striatal networks important for response inhibition was assessed using psychophysiological interaction analyses. 

Analyses revealed greater alcohol dependence severity was associated with weaker functional connectivity between the putamen and prefrontal regions (e.g. the anterior insula, anterior cingulate and medial prefrontal cortex) during response inhibition. Furthermore, the OPRM1 genotype was associated with differential response inhibition-related functional connectivity. 

This study demonstrates that individuals with more severe alcohol dependence exhibit less frontal connectivity with the striatum, a component of cognitive control networks important for response inhibition. These findings suggest that the fronto-striatal pathway underlying response inhibition is weakened as alcoholism progresses.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail: