Psychopharmacology

, Volume 222, Issue 4, pp 701–708

μ-Opioid receptor availability in the amygdala is associated with smoking for negative affect relief

Authors

  • Mary Falcone
    • Department of PharmacologyUniversity of Pennsylvania
    • Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Pennsylvania
  • Allison B. Gold
    • Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Pennsylvania
  • E. Paul Wileyto
    • Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Pennsylvania
  • Riju Ray
    • Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Pennsylvania
  • Kosha Ruparel
    • Brain Behavior Laboratory, Neuropsychiatry DepartmentHospital of the University of Pennsylvania
  • Andrew Newberg
    • Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine and RadiologyThomas Jefferson University
  • Jacob Dubroff
    • Department of Nuclear MedicineHospital of the University of Pennsylvania
  • Jean Logan
    • Medical DepartmentBrookhaven National Laboratory
  • Jon-Kar Zubieta
    • Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience InstituteUniversity of Michigan
  • Julie A. Blendy
    • Department of PharmacologyUniversity of Pennsylvania
    • Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Pennsylvania
Original Investigation

DOI: 10.1007/s00213-012-2673-5

Cite this article as:
Falcone, M., Gold, A.B., Wileyto, E.P. et al. Psychopharmacology (2012) 222: 701. doi:10.1007/s00213-012-2673-5

Abstract

Rationale

The perception that smoking relieves negative affect contributes to smoking persistence. Endogenous opioid neurotransmission, and the μ-opioid receptor (MOR) in particular, plays a role in affective regulation and is modulated by nicotine.

Objectives

We examined the relationship of MOR binding availability in the amygdala to the motivation to smoke for negative affect relief and to the acute effects of smoking on affective responses.

Methods

Twenty-two smokers were scanned on two separate occasions after overnight abstinence using [11C]carfentanil positron emission tomography imaging: after smoking a nicotine-containing cigarette and after smoking a denicotinized cigarette. Self-reports of smoking motives were collected at baseline, and measures of positive and negative affect were collected pre- and post- cigarette smoking.

Results

Higher MOR availability in the amygdala was associated with motivation to smoke to relieve negative affect. However, MOR availability was unrelated to changes in affect after smoking either cigarette.

Conclusions

Increased MOR availability in amygdala may underlie the motivation to smoke for negative affective relief. These results are consistent with previous data highlighting the role of MOR neurotransmission in smoking behavior.

Keywords

Smoking motivationμ-Opioid receptorAmygdalaAffect regulation

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012