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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2007 Jan;31(1):28-32.

PET [11C]DASB imaging of serotonin transporters in patients with alcoholism.

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  • 1Molecular Imaging Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, One Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.



Alcoholism and aggression have each been associated with neurochemical measurements suggestive of decreased serotonin synaptic transmission. We measured densities of the serotonin transporter (SERT) in a moderate-sized sample of alcoholic patients who were assessed for aggressive characteristics.


Thirty alcoholic inpatients and 18 healthy controls received a PET scan with [(11)C]-3-amino-4-(2-dimethylaminomethylphenylsulfanyl)-benzonitrile. The alcoholic inpatients were classified as aggressive or nonaggressive based on a comparison between the top third and bottom third scores on the Buss-Durkee Hostility Index.


Using a pixel-wise comparison, no brain region showed significant alterations in SERT binding among the 3 groups of subjects (aggressive alcoholic subjects, nonaggressive alcoholic subjects, and healthy controls) or between the combined alcoholic group and healthy controls. None of the clinical measures (including measures of aggression) correlated with SERT binding in the alcoholic subjects.


Contrary to prior imaging reports using the nonselective ligand [(123)I]beta-CIT, we found no significant alterations of SERT density in alcoholic patients.

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