Neural systems and cue-induced cocaine craving

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2002 Mar;26(3):376-86. doi: 10.1016/S0893-133X(01)00371-2.


We have extended our previous work investigating the neural correlates of cue-induced cocaine craving through the use of positron emission tomography with greater spatial resolution (<4.6 mm), an evocative script, and a pixel-by-pixel analysis. Craving and cerebral glucose metabolism were measured after presentation of cocaine-related or neutral cues to 11 cocaine abusers. Cocaine cues elicited a higher degree of craving than has been previously reported and resulted in left hemispheric activation of lateral amygdala, lateral orbitofrontal cortex, and rhinal cortex and right hemispheric activation of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and cerebellum. The intensity of activation in these areas (except cerebellum), as well as left insula, was also correlated with craving. Deactivation occurred in left ventral pole and left medial prefrontal cortex. The results suggest that induction of drug craving involves a neural network that assigns incentive motivational value to environmental stimuli through the coactivation of brain regions that process information about memories and emotions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavior, Addictive / diagnostic imaging*
  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology
  • Brain / physiology
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Cues*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed / methods