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Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2014 Dec;17(12):2069-74. doi: 10.1017/S1461145714000704. Epub 2014 May 7.

Amphetamine induced endogenous opioid release in the human brain detected with [¹¹C]carfentanil PET: replication in an independent cohort.

Author information

Division of Brain Science, Faculty of Medicine,Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology, Imperial College London,UK.
National Problem Gambling Clinic,CNWL NHS Foundation Trust, Imperial College London,UK.
Laboratory for Affect, Risk and Gambling Experiments, Department of Psychology,University of Cambridge,UK.
Department of Psychological Medicine,Centre for Affective Disorders, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London,UK.
Imanova Ltd.,Centre for Imaging Sciences,London,UK.
Department of Imaging, Division of Experimental Medicine, Department of Medicine,Imperial College,London,UK.
Drug Control Centre, Analytical and Environmental Sciences,King's College London,UK.


This study aimed to replicate a previous study which showed that endogenous opioid release, following an oral dose of amphetamine, can be detected in the living human brain using [11C]carfentanil positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. Nine healthy volunteers underwent two [11C]carfentanil PET scans, one before and one 3 h following oral amphetamine administration (0.5 mg/kg). Regional changes in [11C]carfentanil BPND from pre- to post-amphetamine were assessed. The amphetamine challenge led to significant reductions in [11C]carfentanil BPND in the putamen, thalamus, frontal lobe, nucleus accumbens, anterior cingulate, cerebellum and insula cortices, replicating our earlier findings. None of the participants experienced significant euphoria/'high', supporting the use of oral amphetamine to characterize in vivo endogenous opioid release following a pharmacological challenge. [11C]carfentanil PET is able to detect changes in binding following an oral amphetamine challenge that reflects endogenous opioid release and is suitable to characterize the opioid system in neuropsychiatric disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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