The Association of Non–Drug-Related Pavlovian-to-Instrumental Transfer Effect in Nucleus Accumbens With Relapse in Alcohol Dependence: A Replication

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung



Background: The Pavlovian-to-instrumental transfer (PIT) paradigm measures the effects of Pavlovian conditioned cues on instrumental behavior in the laboratory. A previous study conducted by our research group observed activity in the left nucleus accumbens (NAcc) elicited by a non–drug-related PIT task across patients with alcohol dependence (AD) and healthy control subjects, and the left NAcc PIT effect differentiated patients who subsequently relapsed from those who remained abstinent. In this study, we aimed to examine whether such effects were present in a larger sample collected at a later date. Methods: A total of 129 recently detoxified patients with AD (21 females) and 74 healthy, age- and gender-matched control subjects (12 females) performing a PIT task during functional magnetic resonance imaging were examined. After task assessments, patients were followed for 6 months. Forty-seven patients relapsed and 37 remained abstinent. Results: We found a significant behavioral non–drug-related PIT effect and PIT-related activity in the NAcc across all participants. Moreover, subsequent relapsers showed stronger behavioral and left NAcc PIT effects than abstainers. These findings are consistent with our previous findings. Conclusions: Behavioral non–drug-related PIT and neural PIT correlates are associated with prospective relapse risk in AD. This study replicated previous findings and provides evidence for the clinical relevance of PIT mechanisms to treatment outcome in AD. The observed difference between prospective relapsers and abstainers in the NAcc PIT effect in our study is small overall. Future studies are needed to further elucidate the mechanisms and the possible modulators of neural PIT in relapse in AD.


Seiten (von - bis)558-565
FachzeitschriftBiological psychiatry
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 15 März 2023

Externe IDs

ORCID /0000-0001-5398-5569/work/150329578


ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete


  • Alcohol use disorder, Human cue-induced behavior, Nucleus accumbens, Pavlovian-to-instrumental transfer, Relapse prediction, Replication