Author(s): Zijlstra F, Booij J, van den Brink W, Franken IH
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Abstract Opiate addiction is a chronic disorder characterized by relapse behaviour, often preceded by craving and anhedonia. Chronic craving and anhedonia have been associated with low availability of dopamine D2 receptors (D2Rs) and cue-elicited craving has been linked with endogenous dopamine release. We studied D2R availability and cue-elicited endogenous dopamine release in 12 abstinent opiate-dependent males and 18 age-matched male controls with [123I]IBZM SPECT. Craving was manipulated with a video containing heroin-related stimuli. Moreover, chronic craving, anhedonia and cue-elicited craving were measured. We found lower baseline D2R availability in opiate-dependent subjects than controls in the left caudate nucleus. D2R availability in the putamen correlated negatively with years of opiate use. Opiate-dependent subjects demonstrated higher dopamine release after cue-exposure in the right putamen than controls. Chronic craving and anhedonia were positively correlated with DA release. Treatment strategies that increase D2Rs may, therefore, be an interesting approach to prevent relapse in opiate addiction.
This article was published in Eur Neuropsychopharmacol
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy