Blunted striatal responses to favorite-food cues in smokers Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Although tobacco-smoking is associated with relatively leaner body mass and smoking cessation with weight gain, the brain mechanisms underlying these relationships are not well understood. Smokers compared to non-smokers have shown diminished neural responses to non-tobacco rewarding stimuli (e.g., monetary rewards), but brain responses to favorite-food cues have not been investigated relative to smoking status. We hypothesized that smokers would exhibit diminished neural responses compared to non-smokers in response to favorite-food cues in motivation-reward and emotion-regulating regions of the brain. METHODS: Twenty-three smokers and 23 non-smokers matched based on body mass index (BMI), age, and gender listened to personalized favorite-food cue, stress, and neutral-relaxing audiotapes during fMRI. RESULTS: During favorite-food cue exposure, smokers versus non-smokers exhibited diminished activations in the caudate, putamen, insula, and thalamus. Neural responses during stress and neutral-relaxing conditions were similar across groups. Subjective food-craving ratings were similar across groups. CONCLUSIONS: The relatively diminished neural responses to favorite-food cues in smokers may contribute to lower BMI.


  • Jastreboff, Ania M
  • Sinha, Rajita
  • Lacadie, Cheryl M
  • Balodis, Iris
  • Sherwin, Robert
  • Potenza, Marc N

publication date

  • January 2015