Right Inferior Frontal Gyrus Theta-Burst Stimulation Reduces Smoking Behaviors and Strengthens Fronto-Striatal-Limbic Resting-State Functional Connectivity: A Randomized Crossover Trial

SOURCE: Frontiers in Psychiatry. 14 (no pagination), 2023. Article Number: 1166912.


AUTHORS: Upton S.; Brown A.A.; Golzy M.; Garland E.L.; Froeliger B.

INTRODUCTION: Functional and anatomical irregularities in the right inferior frontal gyrus (rIFG), a ventrolateral prefrontal region that mediates top-down inhibitory control over prepotent behavioral responding, are implicated in the ongoing maintenance of nicotine dependence (ND). However, there is little research on the effects of neuromodulation of the rIFG on smoking behavior, inhibitory control, and resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) among individuals with ND.

METHOD(S): In this double-blind, crossover, theta-burst stimulation (TBS) study, adults with ND (N = 31; female: n = 15) completed a baseline session and were then randomized to two counterbalanced sessions of functionally neuronavigated TBS to the rIFG: continuous TBS (cTBS) on 1 day and intermittent TBS (iTBS) on another. Differences in cigarette cravings, smoking, and fronto-striatal-limbic rsFC were assessed.

RESULT(S): Relative to baseline, cTBS significantly reduced appetitive and withdrawal cravings immediately after treatment. The effects of cTBS on withdrawal craving persisted for 24 h, as well as produced a reduction in smoking. Furthermore, cTBS significantly strengthened rsFC between the rIFG pars opercularis and subcallosal cingulate (fronto-striatal circuit), and between the rIFG pars opercularis and the right posterior parahippocampal gyrus (fronto-limbic circuit). At post-24 h, cTBS-induced increase in fronto-striatal rsFC was significantly associated with less appetitive craving, while the increase in fronto-limbic rsFC was significantly associated with less withdrawal craving and smoking.

DISCUSSION(S): These findings warrant further investigation into the potential value of rIFG cTBS to attenuate smoking behavior among individuals with ND.

LINK TO FULL ARTICLE: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2023.1166912/full