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Brain Imaging Behav. 2019 Sep 7. doi: 10.1007/s11682-019-00197-2. [Epub ahead of print]

Increased interregional functional connectivity of anterior insula is associated with improved smoking cessation outcome.

Author information

1
Department of Radiology, the Second Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, China. 2514110@zju.edu.cn.
2
Department of Radiology, the Second Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, China.
3
Department of Psychiatry, the Second Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, China.
4
Neuroimaging Research Branch, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD, USA.
5
Department of Radiology, the Second Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, China. zhangminming@zju.edu.cn.

Abstract

Damage to the insular cortex has been shown to disrupt smoking behavior. However, whether smoking cessation outcomes are associated with abnormal functions of insula and its subregions remains unclear. In this study, we investigated the relationship between insular functions (interregional functional connectivity and regional activity) and treatment outcomes of cigarette smoking. Thirty treatment-seeking smokers were recruited into the treatment study and underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans immediately before and after the treatment. Sixteen participants remained abstinent from smoking (quitters), while 14 relapsed to smoking (relapers). Changes in resting-state functional connectivity and fractional amplitude of low frequency fluctuation (fALFF) across groups and visits were assessed using repeated measures ANCOVA. Significant interaction effects were detected: 1) between the left anterior insula and left precuneus; and 2) between the right anterior insula and left precuneus and medial frontal gyrus. Post-hoc region-of-interest analyses in brain areas showing interaction effects indicated significantly increased functional connectivity after treatment compared with before treatment in quitters but opposite longitudinal changes in relapsers. However, no significant effects in fALFF were observed. These novel findings suggest that increased interregional functional connectivity of the anterior insula is associated with improved smoking cessation outcome: individuals with increased functional connectivity of the anterior insula during the treatment would more likely quit smoking successfully. These insular circuits may serve as therapeutic targets for more efficacious treatment of nicotine addiction.

KEYWORDS:

Anterior insula; Nicotine dependence; Resting state functional connectivity; Smoking cessation

PMID:
31494823
DOI:
10.1007/s11682-019-00197-2

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