Naltrexone ameliorates functional network abnormalities in alcohol-dependent individuals

Morris, Laurel S and Baek, Kwangyeol and Tait, Roger and Elliott, Rebecca and Ersche, Karen D. and Flechais, Remy and McGonigle, John and Murphy, Anna and Nestor, Liam J. and Orban, Csaba and Passetti, Filippo and Paterson, Louise M. and Rabiner, Ilan and Reed, Laurence and Smith, Dana and Suckling, John and Taylor, Eleanor M. and Bullmore, Edward T. and Lingford-Hughes, Anne R. and Deakin, Bill and Nutt, David J. and Sahakian, Barbara J. and Robbins, Trevor W. and Voon, Valerie (2017) Naltrexone ameliorates functional network abnormalities in alcohol-dependent individuals. Addiction Biology. ISSN 1355-6215

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Naltrexone, an opioid receptor antagonist, is commonly used as a relapse prevention medication in alcohol and opiate addiction, but its efficacy and the mechanisms underpinning its clinical usefulness are not well characterized. In the current study, we examined the effects of 50-mg naltrexone compared with placebo on neural network changes associated with substance dependence in 21 alcohol and 36 poly-drug-dependent individuals compared with 36 healthy volunteers. Graph theoretic and network-based statistical analysis of resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data revealed that alcohol-dependent subjects had reduced functional connectivity of a dispersed network compared with both poly-drug-dependent and healthy subjects. Higher local efficiency was observed in both patient groups, indicating clustered and segregated network topology and information processing. Naltrexone normalized heightened local efficiency of the neural network in alcohol-dependent individuals, to the same levels as healthy volunteers. Naltrexone failed to have an effect on the local efficiency in abstinent poly-substance-dependent individuals. Across groups, local efficiency was associated with substance, but no alcohol exposure implicating local efficiency as a potential premorbid risk factor in alcohol use disorders that can be ameliorated by naltrexone. These findings suggest one possible mechanism for the clinical effects of naltrexone, namely, the amelioration of disrupted network topology.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Morris, L.S. Baek, K. Tait. R.J. et al. Naltrexone ameliorate functional network abnormalities in alcohol-dependant individuals. Addiction Biology, 2017.which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Identification Number:
28 February 2017Published Online
5 February 2017Accepted
Subjects: CAH11 - computing > CAH11-01 - computing > CAH11-01-01 - computer science
Divisions: Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment
Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment > School of Computing and Digital Technology
Depositing User: Ian Mcdonald
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2017 09:08
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2023 12:01

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