Effects of chronic cocaine abuse on postsynaptic dopamine receptors

N. D. Volkow, J. S. Fowler, A. P. Wolf, D. Schlyer, C. Y. Shiue, R. Alpert, S. L. Dewey, J. Logan, B. Bendriem, D. Christman, R. Hitzemann, F. Henn

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306 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)719-724
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Volkow, N. D., Fowler, J. S., Wolf, A. P., Schlyer, D., Shiue, C. Y., Alpert, R., Dewey, S. L., Logan, J., Bendriem, B., Christman, D., Hitzemann, R., & Henn, F. (1990). Effects of chronic cocaine abuse on postsynaptic dopamine receptors. American Journal of Psychiatry, 147(6), 719-724. https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.147.6.719