In a previous oddball task study, it was shown that the inclusion of electrophysiology (EEG), that is, single-trial P3 ERP parameters, in the analysis of fMRI responses can detect activation that is not apparent with conventional fMRI data modeling strategies [Warbrick, T., Mobascher, A., Brinkmeyer, J., Musso, F., Richter, N., Stoecker, T., et al. Single-trial P3 amplitude and latency informed event-related fMRI models yield different BOLD response patterns to a target detection task. Neuroimage, 47, 1532–1544, 2009]. Given that P3 is modulated by nicotine, including P3 parameters in the fMRI analysis might provide additional information about nicotine effects on brain function. A 1-mg nasal nicotine spray (0.5 mg each nostril) or placebo (pepper) spray was administered in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, within-subject, randomized, cross-over design. Simultaneous EEG-fMRI and behavioral data were recorded from 19 current smokers in response to an oddball-type visual choice RT task. Conventional general linear model analysis and single-trial P3 amplitude informed general linear model analysis of the fMRI data were performed. Comparing the nicotine with the placebo condition, reduced RTs in the nicotine condition were related to decreased BOLD responses in the conventional analysis encompassing the superior parietal lobule, the precuneus, and the lateral occipital cortex. On the other hand, reduced RTs were related to increased BOLD responses in the precentral and postcentral gyri, and ACC in the EEG-informed fMRI analysis. Our results show how integrated analyses of simultaneous EEG-fMRI data can be used to detect nicotine effects that would not have been revealed through conventional analysis of either measure in isolation. This emphasizes the significance of applying multimodal imaging methods to pharmacoimaging.

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