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Biol Psychiatry. 2013 May 1;73(9):869-76. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.11.019. Epub 2013 Jan 8.

Elevated reward region responsivity predicts future substance use onset but not overweight/obesity onset.

Author information

1
Oregon Research Institute, Eugene, Oregon, USA. estice@ori.org

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

We tested the hypotheses that adolescents who show elevated reward region responsivity are at increased risk for initial onset of overweight/obesity and substance use, which is important because there have been no such prospective tests of the reward surfeit model of these motivated behaviors.

METHODS:

One hundred sixty-two adolescents (mean age = 15.3±1.06 years) with healthy weights (mean body mass index = 20.8±1.90) completed functional magnetic resonance imaging paradigms that assessed neural activation in response to receipt and anticipated receipt of palatable food and monetary reward; body fat and substance use were assessed at baseline and 1-year follow-up.

RESULTS:

Elevated caudate (r = .31, p<.001) and putamen (r = .28, p<.001) response to monetary reward predicted substance use onset over 1-year follow-up, but reward circuitry responsivity did not predict future overweight/obesity onset. Adolescents who reported substance use versus abstinence at baseline also showed less caudate (r =-.31, p<.001) response to monetary reward.

DISCUSSION:

Results show that hyper-responsivity of reward circuitry increases risk for future substance use onset, providing novel support for the reward surfeit model. Results also imply that even a limited substance use history was associated with reduced reward region responsivity, extending results from studies that compared substance-dependent individuals with healthy control subjects and suggesting that substance use downregulates reward circuitry. However, aberrant reward region responsivity did not predict initial unhealthy weight gain.

PMID:
23312561
PMCID:
PMC3774523
DOI:
10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.11.019
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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