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Nicotine-induced limbic cortical activation in the human brain: a functional MRI study. Am J Psychiatry 1998 Aug;155(8):1009-15

Date

08/12/1998

Pubmed ID

9699686

DOI

10.1176/ajp.155.8.1009

Scopus ID

2-s2.0-0031872333   418 Citations

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Nicotine is a highly addictive substance, and cigarette smoking is a major cause of premature death among humans. Little is known about the neuropharmacology and sites of action of nicotine in the human brain. Such knowledge might help in the development of new behavioral and pharmacological therapies to aid in treating nicotine dependence and to improve smoking cessation success rates.

METHOD: Functional magnetic resonance imaging, a real-time imaging technique, was used to determine the acute CNS effects of intravenous nicotine in 16 active cigarette smokers. An injection of saline followed by injections of three doses of nicotine (0.75, 1.50, and 2.25 mg/70 kg of weight) were each administered intravenously over 1-minute periods in an ascending, cumulative-dosing paradigm while whole brain gradient-echo, echo-planar images were acquired every 6 seconds during consecutive 20-minute trials.

RESULTS: Nicotine induced a dose-dependent increase in several behavioral parameters, including feelings of "rush" and "high" and drug liking. Nicotine also induced a dose-dependent increase in neuronal activity in a distributed system of brain regions, including the nucleus accumbens, amygdala, cingulate, and frontal lobes. Activation in these structures is consistent with nicotine's behavior-arousing and behavior-reinforcing properties in humans.

CONCLUSIONS: The identified brain regions have been previously shown to participate in the reinforcing, mood-elevating, and cognitive properties of other abused drugs such as cocaine, amphetamine, and opiates, suggesting that nicotine acts similarly in the human brain to produce its reinforcing and dependence properties.

Author List

Stein EA, Pankiewicz J, Harsch HH, Cho JK, Fuller SA, Hoffmann RG, Hawkins M, Rao SM, Bandettini PA, Bloom AS

Author

Harold H. Harsch MD Professor in the Psychiatry department at Medical College of Wisconsin




MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Adolescent
Adult
Affect
Brain
Cerebral Cortex
Cognition
Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
Female
Humans
Injections, Intravenous
Limbic System
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Male
Nicotine
Receptors, Nicotinic
Smoking Cessation
Smoking Prevention
Tobacco Use Disorder