Nicotine is the most common drug of abuse in the United States, and has addiction strength comparable to cocaine, heroin, and alcohol. It is the primary addictive component of tobacco, and its use markedly increases risk for cancer, heart disease, asthma, miscarriage, and infant mortality. Addiction is thought to be caused primarily by the intersection of two components: 1) the impact of drug pharmacokinetics on the dynamics of dopamine response, and 2) dysregulation of the brain's reward circuit. While the term 'dysregulated'tends to be used qualitatively within the neuroscience literature, regulation has a precise and testable meaning in control systems engineering, which has yet to be addressed in a quantitative manner by current neuroimaging methods or models of addiction. Current approaches to neuroimaging have primarily focused on identifying nodes and causal connections within the meso-circuit of interest, but have yet to take the next step in treating these nodes and connection as a self-interacting dynamical system evolving over time. Such an approach is critical for improving our understanding, and therefore prediction, of trajectories for addiction as well as recovery. These trajectories are likely to be nonlinear (e.g., involving thresholds, saturation, and self- reinforcement), as well as highly specific to each individual. Ou study is designed to provide the first step towards addressing this gap: integrating ultra-high-field (7T) and ultra-fast (<1s) fMRI with computational modeling, to provide a bridge between the dynamics of meso-circuit regulation and the dynamics of human addictive behavior. We propose to test the hypothesis that control systems regulation, measured by dynamic analyses of fMRI data, can predict-on an individual basis-exactly when an addicted smoker will want to take his next puff. This will be achieved by first validating a MR-compatible nicotine delivery system, by comparing its neurobiological and autonomic effects against those of a cigarette and e-cigarette. Once this is achieved, we then will acquire fMRI data from addicted smokers while they 'smoke.'Using individual subjects'neuroimaging data, we will derive coupled differential equations for a control system that predicts craving and behavioral response for that individual. Using independent data sets to estimate the parameters and to test them, we will assess the model's accuracy in predicting each individual subject's cravings, as measured behaviorally by the frequency at which each smoker self-administers nicotine. If successful, this approach could then be exploited to develop individualized prevention and treatment of addiction by identifying individual-specific amplitude, duration, and frequency of dosing in nicotine replacement therapy that is least likely to trigger cravings. More generally, the methods we propose have the potential to rigorously examine system-wide dysregulation in addiction for the first time, opening the door to exploration of other dysregulatory brain-based disease in humans.

Public Health Relevance

Nicotine is the most common drug of abuse in the United States, and has addiction strength comparable to cocaine, heroin, and alcohol. It is the primary addictive component of tobacco, and its use markedly increases risk for cancer, heart disease, asthma, miscarriage, and infant mortality. We propose to test the hypothesis that a new type of neuroimaging, based on brain dynamics, can predict-on an individual basis-exactly when an addicted smoker will want to take his next puff. If successful, this approach could then be exploited to develop individualized prevention and treatment of addiction by identifying individual-specific amplitude, duration, and frequency of dosing in nicotine replacement therapy that is least likely to trigger cravings.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Type
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
Project #
1R21DA038467-01
Application #
8787852
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZDA1)
Program Officer
Grant, Steven J
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
1
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
State University New York Stony Brook
Department
Biomedical Engineering
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
City
Stony Brook
State
NY
Country
United States
Zip Code
11794