Longitudinal changes in brain metabolic activity after withdrawal from escalation of cocaine self-administration: Brain metabolic activity during abstinence from cocaine

Abstract : The chronic and relapsing nature of addiction suggests that drugs produce persistent adaptations in the brain that make individuals with drug addiction particularly sensitive to drug-related cues and stress and incapable of controlling drug-seeking and drug-taking behavior. In animal models, several long-lasting neuroadaptations have been described. However, few studies have used brain-imaging techniques to provide a complete picture of brain functioning in the course of withdrawal from cocaine. In this study, we allowed rats to self-administer cocaine under short-access (1-h/day) or long-access (6-h/day) conditions and used 2-deoxy-2-(18F)fluoro-d-glucose (18FDG) positron emission tomography scanning to investigate the longitudinal changes in metabolic activity 1 and 4 weeks after discontinuation of cocaine self-administration. We found that compared to naive rats, both long-access and short-access rats showed significant disruptions in basal brain metabolic activity. However, compared to short-access, long-access rats showed more intense, and long-lasting neuroadaptations in a network of brain areas. In particular, abstinence from extended access to cocaine was associated with decreased metabolic activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, the insular cortex, and the dorsolateral striatum, and increased metabolic activity in the mesencephalon, amygdala, and hippocampus. This pattern is strikingly similar to that described in humans that has led to the proposal of the Impaired Response Inhibition and Salience Attribution model of addiction. These results demonstrate that extended access to cocaine leads to persistent neuroadaptations in brain regions involved in motivation, salience attribution, memory, stress, and inhibitory control that may underlie increased risks of relapse.
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Céline Nicolas, Clovis Tauber, François-Xavier Lepelletier, Sylvie Chalon, Pauline Belujon, et al.. Longitudinal changes in brain metabolic activity after withdrawal from escalation of cocaine self-administration: Brain metabolic activity during abstinence from cocaine. Neuropsychopharmacology, Nature Publishing Group, 2017, 42 (10), pp.1981-1990. ⟨inserm-02163580⟩

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