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Transl Psychiatry. 2018 Jun 18;8(1):119. doi: 10.1038/s41398-018-0164-0.

Ventral striatal dysfunction in cocaine dependence - difference mapping for subregional resting state functional connectivity.

Zhang S1, Li CR2,3,4.

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Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 06519, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 06519, USA.
Department of Neuroscience, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 06520, USA.
Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 06520, USA.


Research of dopaminergic deficits has focused on the ventral striatum (VS) with many studies elucidating altered resting state functional connectivity (rsFC) in individuals with cocaine dependence (CD). The VS comprises functional subregions and delineation of subregional changes in rsFC requires careful consideration of the differences between addicted and healthy populations. In the current study, we parcellated the VS using whole-brain rsFC differences between CD and non-drug-using controls (HC). Voxels with similar rsFC changes formed functional clusters. The results showed that the VS was divided into 3 subclusters, in the area of the dorsal-anterior VS (daVS), dorsal posterior VS (dpVS), and ventral VS (vVS), each in association with different patterns of rsFC. The three subregions shared reduced rsFC with bilateral hippocampal/parahippocampal gyri (HG/PHG) but also showed distinct changes, including reduced vVS rsFC with ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and increased daVS rsFC with visual cortex in CD as compared to HC. Across CD, daVS visual cortical connectivity was positively correlated with amount of prior-month cocaine use and cocaine craving, and vVS vmPFC connectivity was negatively correlated with the extent of depression and anxiety. These findings suggest a distinct pattern of altered VS subregional rsFC in cocaine dependence, and some of the changes have eluded analyses using the whole VS as a seed region. The findings may provide new insight to delineating VS circuit deficits in cocaine dependence and provide an alternative analytical framework to address functional dysconnectivity in other mental illnesses.

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