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      Alterations in functional networks during cue-reactivity in Internet gaming disorder

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          Cue-induced brain reactivity has been suggested to be a fundamental and important mechanism explaining the development, maintenance, and relapse of addiction, including Internet gaming disorder (IGD). Altered activity in addiction-related brain regions has been found during cue-reactivity in IGD using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), but less is known regarding the alterations of coordinated whole brain activity patterns in IGD.


          To investigate the activity of temporally coherent, large-scale functional brain networks (FNs) during cue-reactivity in IGD, independent component analysis was applied to fMRI data from 29 male subjects with IGD and 23 matched healthy controls (HC) performing a cue-reactivity task involving Internet gaming stimuli (i.e., game cues) and general Internet surfing-related stimuli (i.e., control cues).


          Four FNs were identified that were related to the response to game cues relative to control cues and that showed altered engagement/disengagement in IGD compared with HC. These FNs included temporo-occipital and temporo-insula networks associated with sensory processing, a frontoparietal network involved in memory and executive functioning, and a dorsal-limbic network implicated in reward and motivation processing. Within IGD, game versus control engagement of the temporo-occipital and frontoparietal networks were positively correlated with IGD severity. Similarly, disengagement of temporo-insula network was negatively correlated with higher game-craving.


          These findings are consistent with altered cue-reactivity brain regions reported in substance-related addictions, providing evidence that IGD may represent a type of addiction. The identification of the networks might shed light on the mechanisms of the cue-induced craving and addictive Internet gaming behaviors.

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          Most cited references 62

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                Author and article information

                J Behav Addict
                J Behav Addict
                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                31 May 2019
                June 2019
                : 8
                : 2
                : 277-287
                [1 ]Institute of Developmental Psychology, Beijing Normal University , Beijing, China
                [2 ]State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning and IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Beijing Normal University , Beijing, China
                [3 ]Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine , New Haven, CT, USA
                [4 ]Faculty of Education, Beijing Normal University , Beijing, China
                [5 ]Beijing Key Lab of Applied Experimental Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Beijing Normal University , Beijing, China
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding authors: Jin-Tao Zhang; State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning and IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Beijing Normal University, No. 19, Xinjiekouwai street, Haidian District, Beijing 100875, China; Phone/Fax: +86 10 58800728; E-mail: zhangjintao@ ; Xiao-Yi Fang; Institute of Developmental Psychology, Beijing Normal University, No. 19, Xinjiekouwai street, Haidian District, Beijing 100875, China; Phone/Fax: +86 10 58808232; E-mail: fangxy@
                © 2019 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited, a link to the CC License is provided, and changes – if any – are indicated.

                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 65, Pages: 11
                Funding sources: This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (nos. 31170990, 31871122, and 31700966), Open Research Fund of the State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning (to Sarah, W. Yip and Sheng, Zhang), and the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (no. 2017M620655).
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