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.