Altered anterior cingulate cortex to hippocampus effective connectivity in response to drug cues in men with cocaine use disorder

Liangsuo Ma, Joel L. Steinberg, Kathryn A. Cunningham, James M. Bjork, Scott D. Lane, Joy M. Schmitz, Thomas Burroughs, Ponnada A. Narayana, Thomas R. Kosten, Antoine Bechara, F. Gerard Moeller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Drug-related attentional bias may have significant implications for the treatment of cocaine use disorder (CocUD). However, the neurobiology of attentional bias is not completely understood. This study employed dynamic causal modeling (DCM) to conduct an analysis of effective (directional) connectivity involved in drug-related attentional bias in treatment-seeking CocUD subjects. The DCM analysis was conducted based on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data acquired from fifteen CocUD subjects while performing a cocaine-word Stroop task, during which blocks of Cocaine Words (CW) and Neutral Words (NW) alternated. There was no significant attentional bias at group level. Although no significant brain activation was found, the DCM analysis found that, relative to the NW, the CW caused a significant increase in the strength of the right (R) anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) to R hippocampus effective connectivity. Greater increase of this connectivity was associated with greater CW reaction time (relative to NW reaction time). The increased strength of R ACC to R hippocampus connectivity may reflect ACC activation of hippocampal memories related to drug use, which was triggered by the drug cues. This circuit could be a potential target for therapeutics in CocUD patients. No significant change was found in the other modeled connectivities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-66
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
StatePublished - Jan 30 2018


  • Attentional bias
  • Cocaine use disorder
  • Cue reactivity
  • Dynamic causal modeling
  • Effective connectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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