Cocaine decreases relative cerebral blood volume in humans: a dynamic susceptibility contrast magnetic resonance imaging study

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1998 Jul;138(1):76-81. doi: 10.1007/s002130050647.


Cocaine has substantial effects on cerebral hemodynamics which may partly underlie both its euphorigenic and toxic effects. Dynamic susceptibility contrast magnetic resonance imaging (DSC-MRI) was used to determine whether a dose-effect relationship could be detected between cocaine administration and cerebral blood volume reduction in human brain. Twenty-three healthy and neurologically normal adult males with a history of recreational cocaine use (3-40 lifetime exposures) participated. Subjects underwent DSC-MRI measurements of relative cerebral blood volume (rCBV) at baseline and 10 min after i.v. double-blind placebo or cocaine (0.2 or 0.4 mg/kg) administration. Placebo administration resulted in superimposable rCBV curves with post-placebo CBV averaging 104+/-4% (mean+/-SE) of baseline, indicating no CBV change. Both cocaine doses induced CBV decreases which were statistically equivalent and post-cocaine CBV averaged 77+/-4% of baseline (P < 0.002), when measured 10 min following drug administration. These data suggest that DSC-MRI can detect cocaine-induced CBV reductions indicative of vasoconstriction, and that it may be useful for evaluating treatments designed to reduce the cerebrovascular effects of cocaine.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / drug effects
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Blood Volume*
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / drug effects*
  • Cocaine / blood
  • Cocaine / pharmacology*
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Narcotics / blood
  • Narcotics / pharmacology*
  • Time Factors
  • Vasoconstriction


  • Narcotics
  • Cocaine