Elevated striatal dopamine transporters during acute cocaine abstinence as measured by [123I] beta-CIT SPECT

Am J Psychiatry. 1998 Jun;155(6):832-4. doi: 10.1176/ajp.155.6.832.


Objective: The authors examined whether striatal dopamine transporters were altered in acutely (96 hours or less) abstinent cocaine-abusing subjects, as suggested by postmortem studies.

Method: [123I] beta-CIT and single photon emission computed tomography were used to assess striatal dopamine transporter levels in 28 cocaine-abusing subjects and 24 comparison subjects matched as a group for age and gender.

Results: Results showed a significant (approximately 20%) elevation in striatal V3" values in acutely abstinent cocaine-abusing subjects relative to comparison subjects. An inverse correlation between dopamine transporter level and Hamilton Depression Rating Scale score was also observed.

Conclusions: These findings indicate more modest elevations in striatal dopamine transporters in cocaine-abusing subjects than noted in previous postmortem reports and suggest a possible relationship between cocaine-related depression and dopamine transporter binding.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Carrier Proteins / physiology
  • Cocaine / analogs & derivatives
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / diagnostic imaging
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / metabolism
  • Comorbidity
  • Corpus Striatum / diagnostic imaging*
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / metabolism
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Dopamine / physiology
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • 2beta-carbomethoxy-3beta-(4-iodophenyl)tropane
  • Cocaine
  • Dopamine