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Bernacer J, Corlett PR, Ramachandra P, McFarlane B, Turner DC, Clark L, Robbins TW, Fletcher PC, Murray GK. Methamphetamine-Induced Disruption of Frontostriatal Reward Learning Signals: Relation to Psychotic Symptoms. Am J Psychiatry . 2013 Jun 4 ; PubMed Abstract

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Comment by:  Lynn Selemon
Submitted 23 June 2013 Posted 23 June 2013

Bernacer et al. make an important contribution to the field by linking the basic neurobiologic mechanism underlying motivation and learning to psychosis in mental illness. It is particularly interesting that the potent D2 receptor antagonist amisulpride did not prevent the methamphetamine-induced disruption of incentive value signaling in the ventral prefrontal cortex. The authors discuss other possible pharmacologic sites, among them the D1 receptor, as the active site for methamphetamine in the cortex. I look forward to future studies by this group that elucidate the neurotransmitter(s) that may be involved.

View all comments by Lynn Selemon

Comment by:  J. Daniel Ragland
Submitted 25 June 2013 Posted 25 June 2013
  I recommend this paper

Phenomenologically, there can be striking similarities between acute psychotic symptoms in individuals with schizophrenia and individuals with acute methamphetamine abuse. There is also growing evidence that both conditions disrupt dopamine-rich frontostriatal brain networks, leading to similar changes in cognition, such as impaired performance on cognitive control tasks such as the Stroop (e.g., Salo et al., 2011). This current study by Bernacer and colleagues is one of the first to investigate the impact of methamphetamine on reward learning in healthy participants and uses fMRI, a methamphetamine challenge and a pharmacological intervention (the antipsychotic amisulpride) to get at putative monoaminergic mechanisms. fMRI results were convincing in linking reward prediction error to the ventral striatum and incentive value to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. The disruptive effects of methamphetamine challenge on task performance and fMRI activation in candidate brain regions were also consistent with the notion that...  Read more

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