Effects of chronic cocaine abuse on postsynaptic dopamine receptors

Am J Psychiatry. 1990 Jun;147(6):719-24. doi: 10.1176/ajp.147.6.719.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Basal Ganglia / metabolism
  • Cocaine / pharmacology*
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Fluorine Radioisotopes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Dopamine / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Dopamine / metabolism
  • Spiperone / analogs & derivatives
  • Spiperone / metabolism
  • Substance-Related Disorders / metabolism*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects


  • Fluorine Radioisotopes
  • Receptors, Dopamine
  • Spiperone
  • 3-N-methylspiperone
  • Cocaine