Interactions between the salience and default-mode networks are disrupted in cocaine addiction

Xia Liang, Yong He, Betty Jo Salmeron, Hong Gu, Elliot A. Stein, Yihong Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Cocaine dependence is a complex neuropsychiatric disorder manifested as dysregulation of multiple behavioral, emotional, and cognitive constructs. Neuroimaging studies have begun to identify specific neurobiological circuit impairments in cocaine-dependent (CD) individuals that may underlie these symptoms. However, whether, where, and how the interactions within and between these circuits are disrupted remain largely unknown. We used resting-state fMRI and modularity network analysis to identify brain modules of a priori interest (default-mode network [DMN], salience network [SN], executive control network [ECN], medial temporal lobe [MTL], and striatum) in 47 CD and 47 matched healthy control (HC) participants and explored alterations within and between these brain modules as a function of addiction. At the module level, intermodule connectivity decreased between DMN and SN in CD. At the nodal level, several regions showed decreased connections with multiple modules in CD: the rostral anterior cingulate connection strength was reduced with SN and MTL; the posterior cingulate had reduced connections with ECN; and the bilateral insula demonstrated decreased connections with DMN. Furthermore, alexithymia, a personality trait previously associated with addiction, correlated negatively with intramodule connectivity within SN only in cocaine users. Our results indicate that cocaine addiction is associated with disrupted interactions among DMN, MTL, and SN, which have been implicated, respectively, in self-referential functions, emotion and memory, and coordinating between internal and external stimuli, providing novel and important insights into the neurobiological mechanisms of cocaine addiction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8081-8090
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 27 2015


  • Brain circuits
  • Cocaine addiction
  • Modularity analysis
  • Network interactions
  • Resting fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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