Orbitofrontal activation restores insight lost after cocaine use

Federica Lucantonio, Yuji K. Takahashi, Alexander F. Hoffman, Chun Yun Chang, Sheena Bali-Chaudhary, Yavin Shaham, Carl R. Lupica, Geoffrey Schoenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Addiction is characterized by a lack of insight into the likely outcomes of one's behavior. Insight, or the ability to imagine outcomes, is evident when outcomes have not been directly experienced. Using this concept, work in both rats and humans has recently identified neural correlates of insight in the medial and orbital prefrontal cortices. We found that these correlates were selectively abolished in rats by cocaine self-administration. Their abolition was associated with behavioral deficits and reduced synaptic efficacy in orbitofrontal cortex, the reversal of which by optogenetic activation restored normal behavior. These results provide a link between cocaine use and problems with insight. Deficits in these functions are likely to be particularly important for problems such as drug relapse, in which behavior fails to account for likely adverse outcomes. As such, our data provide a neural target for therapeutic approaches to address these defining long-term effects of drug use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1092-1099
Number of pages8
JournalNature neuroscience
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014


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