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Biol Psychiatry. 2004 Feb 1;55(3):255-62.

Mu-opioid receptor binding measured by [11C]carfentanil positron emission tomography is related to craving and mood in alcohol dependence.

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1
Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 601 N. Caroline Street, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The endogenous opioid system has been linked to alcohol dependence through animal and human studies. We investigated the relationship between alcohol craving and brain mu opioid receptors (mu-OR) in alcohol-dependent subjects.

METHODS:

Regional brain mu-OR binding potential (BP) was measured using [(11)C]carfentanil positron emission tomography in eight male alcohol-dependent subjects undergoing alcohol withdrawal and eight matched control subjects. Self-reported alcohol craving, withdrawal, and mood were measured.

RESULTS:

Lower mu-OR BP was associated with higher craving in the right dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex, the right anterior frontal cortex, and right parietal cortex. In these regions, alcoholics showed lower mean mu-OR BP compared with control subjects. Mu-OR BP in four other brain regions also correlated with craving, but there were no group differences in receptor binding potential. Mu-OR BP also correlated with depressive symptoms in five brain regions, three of which were identified in the craving analyses.

CONCLUSIONS:

Results show a strong functional relationship between alcohol craving, mood, and mu-OR binding in specific brain regions of recently abstinent, alcohol-dependent men.

PMID:
14744466
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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