Alcohol affects neuronal substrates of response inhibition but not of perceptual processing of stimuli signalling a stop response

Duka, Dora, Critchley, Hugo and Nikolaou, Kyriaki (2013) Alcohol affects neuronal substrates of response inhibition but not of perceptual processing of stimuli signalling a stop response. PLoS ONE, 8 (9). e76649. ISSN 1932-6203

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Alcohol impairs inhibitory control, including the ability to terminate an initiated action. While there is increasing knowledge about neural mechanisms involved in response inhibition, the level at which alcohol impairs such mechanisms remains poorly understood. Thirty-nine healthy social drinkers received either 0.4g/kg or 0.8g/kg of alcohol, or placebo, and performed two variants of a Visual Stop-signal task during acquisition of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data. The two task variants differed only in their instructions: in the classic variant (VSST), participants inhibited their response to a “Go-stimulus” when it was followed by a “Stop-stimulus”. In the control variant (VSST_C), participants responded to the “Go-stimulus” even if it was followed by a “Stop-stimulus”. Comparison of successful Stop-trials (Sstop)>Go, and unsuccessful Stop-trials (Ustop)>Sstop between the three beverage groups enabled the identification of alcohol effects on functional neural circuits supporting inhibitory behaviour and error processing. Alcohol impaired inhibitory control as measured by the Stop-signal reaction time, but did not affect other aspects of VSST performance, nor performance on the VSST_C. The low alcohol dose evoked changes in neural activity within prefrontal, temporal, occipital and motor cortices. The high alcohol dose evoked changes in activity in areas affected by the low dose but importantly induced changes in activity within subcortical centres including the globus pallidus and thalamus. Alcohol did not affect neural correlates of perceptual processing of infrequent cues, as revealed by conjunction analyses of VSST and VSST_C tasks. Alcohol ingestion compromises the inhibitory control of action by modulating cortical regions supporting attentional, sensorimotor and action-planning processes. At higher doses the impact of alcohol also extends to affect subcortical nodes of fronto-basal ganglia- thalamo-cortical motor circuits. In contrast, alcohol appears to have little impact on the early visual processing of infrequent perceptual cues. These observations clarify clinically-important effects of alcohol on behaviour.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Neuroscience
School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: R Medicine
Depositing User: Jill Kirby
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2014 12:01
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 19:01

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Understanding alcohol's effects on inhibition of behaviour; implications for treatment (Duka)G0156MRC-MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCILG0802642 90080
UnsetUnsetEuropean Regional Development FundUnset
INTERREG IVA “AlcoBinge”.4096European CommissionUnset