Attenuation of cue-induced cigarette craving and anterior cingulate cortex activation in bupropion-treated smokers: a preliminary study

Psychiatry Res. 2004 Apr 30;130(3):269-81. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2003.12.006.


In untreated smokers, exposure to cigarette-related cues increases both the intensity of cigarette craving and relative glucose metabolism of the perigenual/ventral anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Given that treatment with bupropion HCl reduces overall cigarette craving levels in nicotine dependent subjects, we performed a preliminary study of smokers to determine if bupropion HCl treatment attenuates cue-induced cigarette craving and associated brain metabolic activation. Thirty-seven, otherwise healthy smokers (20 untreated and 17 who had received open-label treatment with bupropion HCl) underwent two (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography scanning sessions in randomized order--one when presented with neutral cues and the other when presented with cigarette-related cues. Bupropion-treated smokers had smaller cigarette cue-induced increases in craving scores on the Urge to Smoke (UTS) Scale and less activation of perigenual/ventral ACC metabolism from the neutral to the cigarette cue scan than untreated smokers. Thus, in addition to its known effects on spontaneous cigarette craving and withdrawal symptoms, bupropion HCl diminishes cue-induced cigarette craving and appears to attenuate cigarette cue-induced ACC activation. These results are consistent with the known effects of bupropion HCl, including its enhancement of catecholaminergic neurotransmission.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bupropion / therapeutic use*
  • Cues*
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / complications*
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors / metabolism
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Gyrus Cinguli / anatomy & histology
  • Gyrus Cinguli / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / complications*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / prevention & control*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed


  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Bupropion
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18