Brain opioid receptor binding in early abstinence from opioid dependence: Positron emission tomography study

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  • Tim M. Williams, Bristol University, Imp. Coll. Sch. Med., Hammersmith H.
  • ,
  • Mark R.C. Daglish, Bristol University, Imp. Coll. Sch. Med., Hammersmith H.
  • ,
  • Anne Lingford-Hughes, Bristol University, Imp. Coll. Sch. Med., Hammersmith H.
  • ,
  • Lindsay G. Taylor, Bristol University
  • ,
  • Alexander Hammers, Imp. Coll. Sch. Med., Hammersmith H.
  • ,
  • David J. Brooks
  • Paul Grasby, Imp. Coll. Sch. Med., Hammersmith H.
  • ,
  • Judith S. Myles, Blackberry Hill Hospital
  • ,
  • David J. Nutt, Bristol University

Background: Although opioid receptor function in humans is clearly reduced during opioid dependence, what happens to the receptor in early abstinence is not understood. Aims: This study sought to examine changes in opioid receptor availability in early abstinence from opioid dependence. Method: Ten people with opioid dependence who had completed inpatient detoxification and 20 healthy controls underwent [11C]-diprenorphine positron emission tomography. Clinical variables were assessed with structured questionnaires. Opioid receptor binding was characterised as the volume of distribution of [ 11C]-diprenorphine using a template of predefined brain volumes and an exploratory voxel-by-voxel analysis. Results: Compared with controls, participants with opioid dependence had increased [11C]-diprenorphine binding in the whole brain and in 15 of the 21 a priori regions studied. Conclusions: This study suggests that opioid receptor binding is increased throughout the brain in early abstinence from dependent opioid use. These data complement the findings in cocaine and alcohol dependence.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Volume191
IssueJULY
Pages (from-to)63-69
Number of pages7
ISSN0007-1250
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes

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