Previous studies both in laboratory animals and humans have reported that abstinence induces incubation of cue-induced drug craving for nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, and methamphetamine. However, current experimental procedures utilized to study incubation of methamphetamine craving do not incorporate the temporal dynamics of neuropsychological measures and electrophysiological activities associated with this incubation process. This study utilized the high-density electroencephalogram (EEG) signals as a rapid, inexpensive, and noninvasive measure of cue-induced craving potential. A total of 156 male individuals with methamphetamine use disorder (MUD) enrolled in this multisite, cross-sectional study. Structured clinical interview data, self-report questionnaires (cued craving, quality of sleep, impulsivity, anxiety, and depression) and resting-state, eye-closed 128 high-density channel EEG signals were collected at 5 abstinence duration time points (<1, 1–3, 3–6, 6–12, and 12–24 months) to track the neuropsychological and neurophysiological signatures. Cue-induced craving was higher after 1–3 months than after the other time points. This incubation effect was also observed for sleep quality but not for anxiety, depression, and impulsivity symptoms, along with exhibited decreased power spectrum for theta (5.5–8 Hz) and alpha (8–13 Hz), and increased in beta (16.5–26.5 Hz) frequency band. Source reconstructed resting-state EEG analysis showed increased synchronization of medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) for the beta frequency band in 1–3 months abstinent MUD group, and associated with the incubation of craving. Remarkably, the robust incubation-related abnormalities may be driven by beta-band source space connectivity between MPFC and bilateral orbital gyrus (ORB). Our findings suggest the enhancement of beta activity in the incubation period most likely originates from a dysfunction involving frontal brain regions. This neurophysiological signature of incubation of craving can be used to identify individuals who might be most susceptible to relapse, providing a potential insight into future therapeutic interventions for MUD via neuromodulation of beta activity.
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Increased EEG gamma power under exposure to drug-related cues: a translational index for cue-elicited craving in METH-dependent individuals
BMC Psychiatry Open Access 25 May 2023
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General: We thank Yavin Shaham for critical comments on a draft of the paper. We thank Qian Zhuang, Bin Zhan, Xi He, Yexi Leng, Yaowen Liang, Yan Zeng, and Na Li for helps during data collection.
NSFC grant (81822017, 32020103008, 31900765), the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality (18JC1420302, 18JC1420304), the Shanghai Municipal Science and Technology Major Project (2018SHZDZX05), Shanghai Sailing Program (19YF1441900), Shanghai Municipal Education Commission - Gaofeng Clinical Medicine Grant Support (20181715). We also thank the support from the Innovative Research Team of High-level Local Universities in Shanghai.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Zhao, D., Zhang, M., Tian, W. et al. Neurophysiological correlate of incubation of craving in individuals with methamphetamine use disorder. Mol Psychiatry 26, 6198–6208 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-021-01252-5
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