Alcohol sensitizes cerebral responses to the odors of alcoholic drinks

An fMRI study

Veronique Bragulat, Mario Dzemidzic, Thomas Talavage, Dena Davidson, Sean O'Connor, David Kareken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Small, priming doses of alcohol enhance desire to drink, and thus play a role in the loss of control of alcohol consumption. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we previously showed that alcoholic drink odors (AO; subjects' drinks of choice) induce greater nucleus accumbens (NAc) activity than non-appetitive odors (NApO; grass, leather) in subjects at risk for alcoholism. Here we hypothesized that priming exposure to alcohol would enhance responses to AO in the NAc and orbitofrontal cortex in comparison to NApO (grass, leather) and to the appetitive control odors (ApCO) of chocolate and grape. Methods: Ten hazardous drinkers (mean age = 22.7; SD = 2.9, average drinks per drinking day = 5.9, SD = 2.3; drinking days/90 days = 50.4, SD = 13.7) were scanned on a 1.5T GE Signa MR scanner during intravenous infusion of lactated Ringer's or 6% ethanol in lactated Ringer's that was pharmacokinetically modeled to achieve a constant breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) of 50 mg% throughout imaging. During scanning, subjects sniffed AO, NApO, and ApCO. Results: Alcohol infusion enhanced the contrast between AO and NApO in the NAc, and in orbitofrontal, medial frontal, and precuneus/posterior cingulate regions. The contrast between AO and appetitive control odors (ApCO; chocolate and grape) was similarly larger in the orbital, medial frontal, precuneus, and posterior cingulate/retrosplenial areas, with the most robust finding being a potentiated response in the posterior cingulate/retrosplenial area. The orbital region is similar to an area previously shown to manifest satiety-related decreases in activity induced by food cues. Conclusions: The results suggest that priming exposure to alcohol renders a limbic network more responsive to alcohol cues, potentially enhancing desire to drink.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1124-1134
Number of pages11
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume32
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2008

Fingerprint

Odors
Gyrus Cinguli
Odor control
Alcohols
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Nucleus Accumbens
Parietal Lobe
Vitis
Poaceae
Leather
Drinking
Cues
Prefrontal Cortex
Intravenous Infusions
Alcohol Drinking
Alcoholism
Odorants
Alcoholic beverages
Ethanol
Food

Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Alcoholism
  • fMRI
  • Nucleus Accumbens
  • Olfaction
  • Orbitofrontal
  • Posterior Cingulate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Toxicology
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Alcohol sensitizes cerebral responses to the odors of alcoholic drinks : An fMRI study. / Bragulat, Veronique; Dzemidzic, Mario; Talavage, Thomas; Davidson, Dena; O'Connor, Sean; Kareken, David.

In: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, Vol. 32, No. 7, 07.2008, p. 1124-1134.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "Background: Small, priming doses of alcohol enhance desire to drink, and thus play a role in the loss of control of alcohol consumption. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we previously showed that alcoholic drink odors (AO; subjects' drinks of choice) induce greater nucleus accumbens (NAc) activity than non-appetitive odors (NApO; grass, leather) in subjects at risk for alcoholism. Here we hypothesized that priming exposure to alcohol would enhance responses to AO in the NAc and orbitofrontal cortex in comparison to NApO (grass, leather) and to the appetitive control odors (ApCO) of chocolate and grape. Methods: Ten hazardous drinkers (mean age = 22.7; SD = 2.9, average drinks per drinking day = 5.9, SD = 2.3; drinking days/90 days = 50.4, SD = 13.7) were scanned on a 1.5T GE Signa MR scanner during intravenous infusion of lactated Ringer's or 6{\%} ethanol in lactated Ringer's that was pharmacokinetically modeled to achieve a constant breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) of 50 mg{\%} throughout imaging. During scanning, subjects sniffed AO, NApO, and ApCO. Results: Alcohol infusion enhanced the contrast between AO and NApO in the NAc, and in orbitofrontal, medial frontal, and precuneus/posterior cingulate regions. The contrast between AO and appetitive control odors (ApCO; chocolate and grape) was similarly larger in the orbital, medial frontal, precuneus, and posterior cingulate/retrosplenial areas, with the most robust finding being a potentiated response in the posterior cingulate/retrosplenial area. The orbital region is similar to an area previously shown to manifest satiety-related decreases in activity induced by food cues. Conclusions: The results suggest that priming exposure to alcohol renders a limbic network more responsive to alcohol cues, potentially enhancing desire to drink.",
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T2 - An fMRI study

AU - Bragulat, Veronique

AU - Dzemidzic, Mario

AU - Talavage, Thomas

AU - Davidson, Dena

AU - O'Connor, Sean

AU - Kareken, David

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N2 - Background: Small, priming doses of alcohol enhance desire to drink, and thus play a role in the loss of control of alcohol consumption. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we previously showed that alcoholic drink odors (AO; subjects' drinks of choice) induce greater nucleus accumbens (NAc) activity than non-appetitive odors (NApO; grass, leather) in subjects at risk for alcoholism. Here we hypothesized that priming exposure to alcohol would enhance responses to AO in the NAc and orbitofrontal cortex in comparison to NApO (grass, leather) and to the appetitive control odors (ApCO) of chocolate and grape. Methods: Ten hazardous drinkers (mean age = 22.7; SD = 2.9, average drinks per drinking day = 5.9, SD = 2.3; drinking days/90 days = 50.4, SD = 13.7) were scanned on a 1.5T GE Signa MR scanner during intravenous infusion of lactated Ringer's or 6% ethanol in lactated Ringer's that was pharmacokinetically modeled to achieve a constant breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) of 50 mg% throughout imaging. During scanning, subjects sniffed AO, NApO, and ApCO. Results: Alcohol infusion enhanced the contrast between AO and NApO in the NAc, and in orbitofrontal, medial frontal, and precuneus/posterior cingulate regions. The contrast between AO and appetitive control odors (ApCO; chocolate and grape) was similarly larger in the orbital, medial frontal, precuneus, and posterior cingulate/retrosplenial areas, with the most robust finding being a potentiated response in the posterior cingulate/retrosplenial area. The orbital region is similar to an area previously shown to manifest satiety-related decreases in activity induced by food cues. Conclusions: The results suggest that priming exposure to alcohol renders a limbic network more responsive to alcohol cues, potentially enhancing desire to drink.

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