Putamen functional connectivity during inhibitory control in smokers and non-smokers
The putamen has been shown to play a key role in inhibitory control and addiction, and consists of distinct subregions associated with distinct functions. The anterior putamen is thought to be specialized in goal-directed control or response-monitoring in connection with frontal regions, whereas the posterior part is specialized in habitual or automatic responding in connection with sensorimotor regions. The present study is the first to delineate functional networks of the anterior and posterior putamen in a Go-NoGo response inhibition task, and to examine differences between smokers (n = 25) and non-smokers (n = 23) within these networks. Functional connectivity analyses were conducted on fMRI data from a Go-NoGo study, using the generalized form of psychophysiological interaction with anterior and posterior putamen seed regions. In the context of inhibition, the anterior putamen exhibited connectivity with the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and precuneus (pFWE < .05), which was in line with previous literature. Conversely, the posterior putamen showed connectivity with regions implicated in sensorimotor processing. When we compared smokers to non-smokers, we did not observe the expected weaker connectivity between the anterior putamen and ACC during inhibition in smokers. Instead, our study revealed stronger inhibition-related connectivity between the anterior putamen and right insula in smokers. This finding highlights the involvement of putamen - insula interactions in addiction and impulse control.