Changes in cerebral glucose metabolism during early abstinence from chronic methamphetamine abuse.

Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1759, USA.
Molecular Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 15.15). 11/2007; 13(9):897-908. DOI: 10.1038/
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Changes in brain function during the initial weeks of abstinence from chronic methamphetamine abuse may substantially affect clinical outcome, but are not well understood. We used positron emission tomography with [F-18]fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) to quantify regional cerebral glucose metabolism, an index of brain function, during performance of a vigilance task. A total of 10 methamphetamine-dependent subjects were tested after 5-9 days of abstinence, and after 4 additional weeks of supervised abstinence. A total of 12 healthy control subjects were tested at corresponding times. Global glucose metabolism increased between tests (P=0.01), more in methamphetamine-dependent (10.9%, P=0.02) than control subjects (1.9%, NS). Glucose metabolism did not change in subcortical regions of methamphetamine-dependent subjects, but increased in neocortex, with maximal increase (>20%) in parietal regions. Changes in reaction time and self-reports of negative affect varied more in methamphetamine-dependent than in control subjects, and correlated both with the increase in parietal glucose metabolism, and decrease in relative activity (after scaling to the global mean) in some regions. A robust relationship between change in self-reports of depressive symptoms and relative activity in the ventral striatum may have great relevance to treatment success because of the role of this region in drug abuse-related behaviors. Shifts in cortical-subcortical metabolic balance either reflect new processes that occur during early abstinence, or the unmasking of effects of chronic methamphetamine abuse that are obscured by suppression of cortical glucose metabolism that continues for at least 5-9 days after cessation of methamphetamine self-administration.

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