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Psychopharmacology

, Volume 228, Issue 1, pp 119–127 | Cite as

Neural substrates of acupuncture in the modulation of cravings induced by smoking-related visual cues: an FMRI study

  • O-Seok Kang
  • Song-Yi Kim
  • Geon-Ho Jahng
  • Hackjin Kim
  • Jong-Woo Kim
  • Sun-Yong Chung
  • Jun-Won Kim
  • Seung-In Yang
  • Hi-Joon Park
  • Hyejung Lee
  • Younbyoung Chae
Original Investigation

Abstract

Rationale

Cue reactivity is a key factor in modulating motivational and goal-directed behaviors associated with compulsive drug intake and relapse. Smoking-associated cues produce smoking urges and cravings and are accompanied by the activation of brain regions involved in attention, motivation, and reward.

Objectives

We investigated whether acupuncture ameliorates cravings induced by smoking-related visual cues, and we explored the neural mechanisms underlying the effects of acupuncture on modulating smoking urges.

Methods

After 36 h of smoking abstinence, 25 right-handed male smokers underwent fMRI, during which smoking-related and neutral visual cues were presented. Twelve subjects were treated with real acupuncture (RA) at HT7 and 13 subjects received sham acupuncture (SA). During the scanning sessions, craving scores to smoking-related visual cues were assessed before and after RA or SA treatment. The differences in brain responses to smoking vs. neutral cues after treatment between the RA and SA groups were detected using three-way ANOVAs (Cue × Session × Group).

Results

After treatment, the craving scores were significantly decreased in the RA group, as compared to the SA group. When we explored the neural substrates of acupuncture on the modulation of cravings induced by smoking cues, significant differences were found in the medial prefrontal cortex, the premotor cortex, the amygdala, the hippocampus, and the thalamus.

Conclusions

These findings suggest that acupuncture alleviates cue-induced cravings through the regulation of activity in brain regions involved in attention, motivation, and reward relative to craving scores in the initial abstinence phase.

Keywords

Acupuncture Addiction Cue reactivity FMRI Smoking 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (No. 2009-0066863 & No. 2005-0049404).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • O-Seok Kang
    • 1
  • Song-Yi Kim
    • 1
  • Geon-Ho Jahng
    • 2
  • Hackjin Kim
    • 3
  • Jong-Woo Kim
    • 4
  • Sun-Yong Chung
    • 4
  • Jun-Won Kim
    • 1
  • Seung-In Yang
    • 1
  • Hi-Joon Park
    • 1
  • Hyejung Lee
    • 1
  • Younbyoung Chae
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Acupuncture and Meridian Science Research CenterCollege of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyKyung Hee University Hospital at Gangdong, Kyung Hee UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  3. 3.Department of Brain Cognitive EngineeringKorea UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  4. 4.Department of NeuropsychiatryCollege of Oriental Medicine, Kyung Hee UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

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