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Am J Psychiatry. 1990 Jun;147(6):719-24.

Effects of chronic cocaine abuse on postsynaptic dopamine receptors.

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  • 1Medical Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY 11973-5000.


To assess the effects of chronic cocaine intoxication on dopamine receptors in human subjects, the authors evaluated [18F]N-methylspiroperidol binding using positron emission tomography in 10 cocaine abusers and 10 normal control subjects. Cocaine abusers who had been detoxified for 1 week or less showed significantly lower values for uptake of [18F]N-methylspiroperidol in striatum than the normal subjects, whereas the cocaine abusers who had been detoxified for 1 month showed values comparable to those obtained from normal subjects. The authors conclude that postsynaptic dopamine receptor availability decreases with chronic cocaine abuse but may recover after a drug-free interval.

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