Dissociated Grey Matter Changes with Prolonged Addiction and Extended Abstinence in Cocaine Users

Colm G. Connolly, Ryan P. Bell, John J. Foxe, Hugh Garavan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Extensive evidence indicates that current and recently abstinent cocaine abusers compared to drug-naïve controls have decreased grey matter in regions such as the anterior cingulate, lateral prefrontal and insular cortex. Relatively little is known, however, about the persistence of these deficits in long-term abstinence despite the implications this has for recovery and relapse. Optimized voxel based morphometry was used to assess how local grey matter volume varies with years of drug use and length of abstinence in a cross-sectional study of cocaine users with various durations of abstinence (1-102 weeks) and years of use (0.3-24 years). Lower grey matter volume associated with years of use was observed for several regions including anterior cingulate, inferior frontal gyrus and insular cortex. Conversely, higher grey matter volumes associated with abstinence duration were seen in non-overlapping regions that included the anterior and posterior cingulate, insular, right ventral and left dorsal prefrontal cortex. Grey matter volumes in cocaine dependent individuals crossed those of drug-naïve controls after 35 weeks of abstinence, with greater than normal volumes in users with longer abstinence. The brains of abstinent users are characterized by regional grey matter volumes, which on average, exceed drug-naïve volumes in those users who have maintained abstinence for more than 35 weeks. The asymmetry between the regions showing alterations with extended years of use and prolonged abstinence suggest that recovery involves distinct neurobiological processes rather than being a reversal of disease-related changes. Specifically, the results suggest that regions critical to behavioral control may be important to prolonged, successful, abstinence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere59645
JournalPLoS One
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 18 2013

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cocaine
Cocaine
Gyrus Cinguli
Prefrontal Cortex
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Drug and Narcotic Control
drugs
Recovery
Cerebral Cortex
cortex
Brain
Frontal Lobe
duration
relapse
morphometry
Gray Matter
cross-sectional studies
Cross-Sectional Studies
Recurrence
brain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Dissociated Grey Matter Changes with Prolonged Addiction and Extended Abstinence in Cocaine Users. / Connolly, Colm G.; Bell, Ryan P.; Foxe, John J.; Garavan, Hugh.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 8, No. 3, e59645, 18.03.2013.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Connolly, Colm G. ; Bell, Ryan P. ; Foxe, John J. ; Garavan, Hugh. / Dissociated Grey Matter Changes with Prolonged Addiction and Extended Abstinence in Cocaine Users. In: PLoS One. 2013 ; Vol. 8, No. 3.
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