Addict Biol. 2015 Apr 20. doi: 10.1111/adb.12247.
The insula has been implicated in salience processing, craving, and interoception, all of which are critical to the clinical manifestations of drug and behavioral addiction. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, we examined resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) of the insula and its association with Internet gaming characteristics in 74 young adults with Internet gaming disorder (IGD) and 41 age- and gender-matched healthy control subjects (HCs). In comparison with HCs, IGD subjects (IGDs) exhibited enhanced rsFC between the anterior insula and a network of regions including anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), putamen, angular gyrus, and precuneous, which are involved in salience, craving, self-monitoring, and attention. IGDs also demonstrated significantly stronger rsFC between the posterior insula and postcentral gyrus, precentral gyrus, supplemental motor area, and superior temporal gyrus (STG), which are involved in interoception, movement control, and auditory processing. Furthermore, IGD severity was positively associated with connectivity between the anterior insula and angular gyrus, and STG, and with connectivity between the posterior insula and STG. Duration of Internet gaming was positively associated with connectivity between the anterior insula and ACC. These findings highlight a key role of the insula in manifestation of the core symptoms of IGD and the importance to examine functional abnormalities of the anterior and posterior insula separately in IGDs.