Reward-related frontostriatal activity and smoking behavior among adolescents in treatment for smoking cessation
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BACKGROUND: Tobacco use is often initiated during adolescence and continued into adulthood despite desires to quit. A better understanding of the neural correlates of abstinence from smoking in adolescents may inform more effective smoking cessation interventions. Neural reward systems are implicated in tobacco use disorder, and adolescent smokers have shown reduced reward-related ventral striatal activation related to increased smoking. METHODS: The current study evaluated nondrug reward anticipation in adolescent smokers using a monetary incentive delay task in fMRI pre- and post- smoking cessation treatment (n=14). This study tested how changes in neural responses to reward anticipation pre- to post-treatment were related to reduced smoking. An exploratory analysis in a larger sample of adolescents with only pre-treatment fMRI (n=28) evaluated how neural responses to reward anticipation were related to behavioral inhibition and behavioral activation scales. RESULTS: Adolescent smokers showed pre- to post-treatment increases in reward anticipation-related activity in the bilateral nucleus accumbens and insula, and medial prefrontal cortex, and greater increases in reward anticipation-related activity were correlated with larger percent days of smoking abstinence during treatment. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that reduced smoking during smoking cessation treatment is associated with a "recovery of function" in frontostriatal responses to nondrug reward anticipation in adolescent smokers, although comparison with a developmental control group of adolescent nonsmokers is warranted.
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