Opioid antagonism modulates wanting-related frontostriatal connectivity

  1. Alexander Soutschek  Is a corresponding author
  2. Susanna C Weber
  3. Thorsten Kahnt
  4. Boris B Quednow
  5. Philippe N Tobler
  1. Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, Germany
  2. University of Zurich, Switzerland
  3. Northwestern University, United States

Abstract

Theoretical accounts distinguish between motivational ('wanting') and hedonic ('liking') dimensions of rewards. Previous animal and human research linked wanting and liking to anatomically and neurochemically distinct brain mechanisms, but it remains unknown how the different brain regions and neurotransmitter systems interact in processing distinct reward dimensions. Here, we assessed how pharmacological manipulations of opioid and dopamine receptor activation modulate the neural processing of wanting and liking in humans in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial. Reducing opioid receptor activation with naltrexone selectively reduced wanting of rewards, which on a neural level was reflected by stronger coupling between dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the striatum under naltrexone compared with placebo. In contrast, reducing dopaminergic neurotransmission with amisulpride revealed no robust effects on behavior or neural activity. Our findings thus provide insights into how opioid receptors mediate neural connectivity related to specifically motivational, not hedonic, aspects of rewards.

Data availability

The behavioral data that support the findings of this study are available on Open Science Framework https://osf.io/6cevt/

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Alexander Soutschek

    Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, Munich, Germany
    For correspondence
    alexander.soutschek@psy.lmu.de
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-8438-7721
  2. Susanna C Weber

    University of Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  3. Thorsten Kahnt

    Department of Neurology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, United States
    Competing interests
    Thorsten Kahnt, Reviewing editor, eLife.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-3575-2670
  4. Boris B Quednow

    University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  5. Philippe N Tobler

    University of Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.

Funding

Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Förderung der Wissenschaftlichen Forschung (Grants 10001C_188878,100019_176016,and 100014_165884)

  • Philippe N Tobler

Velux Stiftung (981)

  • Philippe N Tobler

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (SO 1636/2-1)

  • Alexander Soutschek

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Jonathan Roiser, University College London, United Kingdom

Ethics

Human subjects: All participants provided written informed consent. The study was approved by the ethics committee of the canton of Zurich (KEK-ZH-NR2012-0347).

Version history

  1. Received: June 8, 2021
  2. Preprint posted: June 21, 2021 (view preprint)
  3. Accepted: November 10, 2021
  4. Accepted Manuscript published: November 11, 2021 (version 1)
  5. Version of Record published: November 17, 2021 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2021, Soutschek et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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  1. Alexander Soutschek
  2. Susanna C Weber
  3. Thorsten Kahnt
  4. Boris B Quednow
  5. Philippe N Tobler
(2021)
Opioid antagonism modulates wanting-related frontostriatal connectivity
eLife 10:e71077.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.71077

Share this article

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.71077

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