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Addict Biol. 2017 May;22(3):791-801. doi: 10.1111/adb.12338. Epub 2016 Jan 5.

Activation of the ventral and dorsal striatum during cue reactivity in Internet gaming disorder.

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Institute of Developmental Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 100875, China.
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, 06519, USA.
CASA Columbia, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, 06519, USA.
State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning and IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 100875, China.
Center for Collaboration and Innovation in Brain and Learning Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 100875, China.


Studies conducted in drug addiction suggest a transition in processing of drug-related cues from the ventral to the dorsal component of the striatum. However, this process has not been studied in a behavioral addiction. Assessment of this process in a non-drug addiction can provide insight into the pathophysiology of both substance and behavioral addictions. Thirty-nine male Internet gaming disorder (IGD) subjects and 23 male matched healthy controls (HCs) participated in functional magnetic resonance imaging during performance of a cue-reactivity task involving alternating presentation of Internet gaming-related stimuli (game cues) and general Internet surfing-related stimuli (control cues). Cue-induced neural activations in the ventral and dorsal striatum (DS) were compared between IGD and HC participants. Associations between cue-reactivity within these regions and cue-induced craving and severity and duration of IGD were also explored. IGD participants exhibited higher cue-induced activations within both the ventral and DS when compared with HCs. Within the IGD group, activity within the left ventral striatum (VS) was correlated negatively with cue-induced craving; positive associations were found between activations within the DS (right putamen, pallidum and left caudate) and duration of IGD. Cue-induced activity within the left putamen was negatively associated with right VS volumes among IGD participants. Consistent with studies in substance addictions, our results suggest that a transition from ventral to dorsal striatal processing may occur among individuals with IGD, a condition without the impact of substance intake.


Internet gaming disorder; cue-reactivity; dorsal striatum; fMRI; ventral striatum

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