[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Personality disorder symptomatology (PD-Sx) can result in personal distress and impaired interpersonal functioning, even in the absence of a clinical diagnosis, and is frequently comorbid with psychiatric disorders such as substance use, mood, and anxiety disorders; however, they often remain untreated, and are not taken into account in clinical studies. To investigate brain morphological correlates of PD-Sx, we measured subcortical volume and shape, and cortical thickness/surface area, based on structural magnetic resonance images. We investigated 37 subjects who reported PD-Sx exceeding DSM-IV Axis-II screening thresholds, and 35 age, sex, and smoking status-matched control subjects. Subjects reporting PD-Sx were then grouped into symptom-based clusters: N = 20 into Cluster B (reporting Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic, or Narcissistic PD-Sx) and N = 28 into Cluster C (reporting Obsessive–Compulsive, Avoidant, or Dependent PD-Sx); N = 11 subjects reported PD-Sx from both clusters, and none reported Cluster A (Paranoid, Schizoid, or Schizotypal) PD-Sx. Compared to control, Cluster C PD-Sx was associated with greater striatal surface area localized to the caudate tail, smaller ventral striatum volumes, and greater cortical thickness in right prefrontal cortex. Both Cluster B and C PD-Sx groups also showed trends toward greater posterior caudate volumes and orbitofrontal surface area anomalies, but these findings did not survive correction for multiple comparisons. The results point to morphological abnormalities that could contribute to Cluster C PD-Sx. In addition, the observations parallel those in substance use disorders, pointing to the importance of considering PD-Sx when interpreting findings in often-comorbid psychiatric disorders.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 08/2015; 9(472). DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2015.00472 · 3.63 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We previously reported very low levels of dopamine in postmortem striatum of chronic methamphetamine users, raising the possibility that restoration of normal dopamine levels could help in this addiction and perhaps prevent early relapse. To establish relevance of this finding to living brain, we tested whether striatal [¹¹C]-(+)-dihydrotetrabenazine binding, a vesicular monoamine transporter probe sensitive to changes in (stored) vesicular dopamine, is elevated in methamphetamine users. Chronic methamphetamine users underwent [¹¹C]-(+)-dihydrotetrabenazine positron emission tomography scans during early (mean 2.6 days) and later (~10 days) abstinence. Striatal [¹¹C]-(+)-dihydrotetrabenazine binding was elevated (suggesting low stored dopamine) in methamphetamine users (n=28; 2.6 days after last use) relative to controls (n=22) (+28%, p<0.0001) and correlated with severity and recency of drug use and with cognitive impairment and withdrawal symptoms. Mean [¹¹C]-(+)-dihydrotetrabenazine binding levels in the subgroup of methamphetamine users who could remain abstinent ~10 days following last use (n=17) were normal at the follow-up scan. Our imaging data support postmortem findings and suggest that chronic methamphetamine users have low brain levels of stored dopamine during very early abstinence from MA, which could contribute to behavioral and cognitive deficits. Findings also suggest a rapid recovery of stored dopamine in some methamphetamine users who become abstinent and who therefore might not benefit from dopamine replacement medication (eg, levodopa). Further study is necessary to establish whether those users who could not maintain abstinence for the second scan might have a more severe and persistent dopamine deficiency and who could benefit from this medication.Neuropsychopharmacology accepted article preview online, 31 August 2015. doi:10.1038/npp.2015.267.
Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 08/2015; DOI:10.1038/npp.2015.267 · 7.05 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Positron emission tomography with [(11)C]CURB was recently developed to quantify fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), the enzyme responsible for hydrolyzing the endocannabinoid anandamide. This study investigated the test-retest reliability of [(11)C]CURB as well as its in vivo specificity and the validity of the kinetic model by using the highly specific FAAH inhibitor, PF-04457845. Five healthy volunteers completed test-retest [(11)C]CURB scans 1 to 2 months apart and six subjects completed baseline and blocking scans on the same day after PF-04457845 (p.o.) administration (1, 4, or 20 mg; n=2 each). The composite parameter λk3 (an index of FAAH activity, λ=K1/k2) was estimated using an irreversible two-tissue compartment model with plasma input function. There were no clinically observable responses to oral PF-04457845 or [(11)C]CURB injection. Oral administration of PF-04457845 reduced [(11)C]CURB binding to a homogeneous level at all three doses, with λk3 values decreased by ⩾91%. Excellent reproducibility and good reliability (test-retest variability=9%; intraclass correlation coefficient=0.79) were observed across all regions of interest investigated. Our findings suggest that λk3/[(11)C]CURB is a reliable, highly sensitive, and selective tool to measure FAAH activity in human brain in vivo. Moreover, PF-04457845 is a highly potent FAAH inhibitor (>95% inhibition at 1 mg) in living human brain.Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism advance online publication, 17 June 2015; doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2015.133.
Journal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism: official journal of the International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism 06/2015; DOI:10.1038/jcbfm.2015.133 · 5.41 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The common functional single-nucleotide polymorphism (rs324420, C385A) of the endocannabinoid inactivating enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) has been associated with anxiety disorder relevant phenotype and risk for addictions. Here, we tested whether the FAAH polymorphism affects in vivo binding of the FAAH positron emission tomography (PET) probe [(11)C]CURB ([(11)C-carbonyl]-6-hydroxy-[1,10-biphenyl]-3-yl cyclohexylcarbamate (URB694)). Participants (n=24) completed one [(11)C]CURB/PET scan and were genotyped for rs324420. Relative to C/C (58%), A-allele carriers (42%) had 23% lower [(11)C]CURB binding (λk3) in brain. We report evidence that the genetic variant rs324420 in FAAH is associated with measurable differences in brain FAAH binding as per PET [(11)C]CURB measurement.Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism advance online publication, 3 June 2015; doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2015.119.
Journal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism: official journal of the International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism 06/2015; 35(8). DOI:10.1038/jcbfm.2015.119 · 5.41 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Animal data show that high doses of the stimulant drug methamphetamine can damage brain dopamine neurones; however, it is still uncertain whether methamphetamine, at any dose, is neurotoxic to human brain.
Since gliosis is typically associated with brain damage and is observed in animal models of methamphetamine exposure, we measured protein levels (intact protein and fragments, if any) of markers of microgliosis (glucose transporter-5, human leukocyte antigens HLA-DRα [TAL.1B5] and HLA-DR/DQ/DPβ [CR3/43]) and astrogliosis (glial fibrillary acidic protein, vimentin, and heat shock protein-27) in homogenates of autopsied brain of chronic methamphetamine users (n=20) and matched controls (n=23). Intact protein levels of all markers were, as expected, elevated (+ 28%-1270%, P< 0.05) in putamen of patients with the neurodegenerative disorder multiple system atrophy (as a positive control) as were concentrations of fragments of glial fibrillary acidic protein, vimentin and heat shock protein-27 (+ 170%-4700%, P< 0.005). In contrast, intact protein concentrations of the markers were normal in dopamine-rich striatum (caudate, putamen) and in the frontal cortex of the drug users. However, striatal levels of cleaved vimentin and heat shock protein-27 were increased (by 98%-211%, P< 0.05), with positive correlations (r=0.41-0.60) observed between concentrations of truncated heat shock protein-27 and extent of dopamine loss (P= 0.006) and levels of lipid peroxidation products 4-hydroxynonenal (P= 0.046) and malondialdehyde (P= 0.11).
Our failure to detect increased intact protein levels of commonly used markers of microgliosis and astrogliosis could be explained by exposure to methamphetamine insufficient to cause a toxic process associated with overt gliosis; however, about half of the subjects had died of drug intoxication suggesting that “high” drug doses might have been used. Alternatively, drug tolerance to toxic effects might have occurred in the subjects, who were all chronic methamphetamine users. Nevertheless, the finding of above-normal levels of striatal vimentin and heat shock protein-27 fragments (which constituted 10-28% of the intact protein), for which changes in the latter correlated with those of several markers possibly suggestive of damage, does suggest that some astrocytic “disturbance” had occurred, which might in principle be related to methamphetamine neurotoxicity or to a neuroplastic remodeling process. Taken together, our neurochemical findings do not provide strong evidence for either marked microgliosis or astrogliosis in at least a subgroup of human recreational methamphetamine users who used the drug chronically and shortly before death. However, a logistically more difficult quantitative histopathological study is needed to confirm whether glial changes occur or do not occur in brain of human methamphetamine (and amphetamine) users.
Neurobiology of Disease 07/2014; 67. DOI:10.1016/j.nbd.2014.03.015 · 5.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Importance
Perimenopause is a period of high risk for mood disorders, and it has been proposed that perimenopause is also a window of risk for processes linked to later dementia. However, in human perimenopause, the neurobiological changes implicated in the genesis of mood disorders or dementia have not been identified. Monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) is an important brain enzyme that creates oxidative stress, influences apoptosis, and metabolizes monoamines. After declines in estrogen level, MAO-A density may be elevated for a month or longer, and repeated declines in estrogen level occur with greater magnitude during perimenopause.Objective
To investigate whether MAO-A total distribution volume (VT), an index of MAO-A density, is elevated in women of perimenopausal age (41-51 years).Design, Setting, and Participants
In a cross-sectional study at a tertiary care psychiatric hospital, 58 women underwent carbon 11–labeled harmine positron emission tomography. These included 19 young women of reproductive age (mean [SD], 28.26 [5.05] years), 27 women of perimenopausal age (mean [SD] age, 45.21 [3.41] years; including 14 women with change in menstrual cycle length with a mean [SD] age of 45.50 [4.00] years and 13 women with no change in menstrual cycle length with a mean [SD] age of 44.92 [2.81] years), and 12 women in menopause (mean [SD] age, 56.25 [3.19] years).Main Outcomes and Measures
Values of MAO-A VT in the prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, dorsal striatum, ventral striatum, thalamus, hippocampus, and midbrain.Results
On average, MAO-A VT in perimenopausal age was elevated by 34% compared with reproductive age and by 16% compared with menopause (multivariate analysis of variance, group effect, F16,94 = 3.03; P < .001). Within the perimenopausal age group, meeting Stages of Reproductive Aging Workshop criteria for perimenopause, which is mainly based on menstrual cycle length, was not associated with MAO-A VT (F8,18 = 0.548; P = .81) but tendency to cry was positively correlated with MAO-A VT in the prefrontal cortex (r = 0.54; P = .008).Conclusions and Relevance
To our knowledge, this is the first report of a change in a central biomarker during perimenopausal age that is also present during major depressive episodes and high-risk states for major depressive episodes. The functions of MAO-A influence oxidative stress and apoptosis, 2 processes implicated as excessive in both mood disorders and dementia. Hence, greater MAO-A VT during perimenopause may represent a new target for assessing novel interventions to prevent mood disorders and reduce longer-term risk of neurodegenerative disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Drug addiction has been associated with deficits in mesostriatal dopamine (DA) function, but whether this state extends to behavioral addictions such as pathological gambling (PG) is unclear. Here we used positron emission tomography and the D3 receptor-preferring radioligand [(11)C]-(+)-PHNO during a dual-scan protocol to investigate DA release in response to oral amphetamine in pathological gamblers (n=12) and healthy controls (n=11). In contrast with human neuroimaging findings in drug addiction, we report the first evidence that PG is associated with greater DA release in dorsal striatum (54-63% greater [(11)C]-(+)-PHNO displacement) than controls. Importantly, dopaminergic response to amphetamine in gamblers was positively predicted by D3 receptor levels (measured in substantia nigra), and related to gambling severity, allowing for construction of a mechanistic model that could help explain DA contributions to PG. Our results are consistent with a hyperdopaminergic state in PG, and support the hypothesis that dopaminergic sensitization involving D3-related mechanisms might contribute to the pathophysiology of behavioral addictions.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 10 December 2013; doi:10.1038/mp.2013.163.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inadequate treatment response occurs in approximately 40% of major depressive episodes (MDE), and one approach to solve this is careful matching of treatment to the specific pathologies of MDE. One such biological abnormality is elevated monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) levels, which occurs primarily in the prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortex (PFC and ACC) during MDE however, the subtypes for which this abnormality is most prominent are unknown. We hypothesized that MAO-A levels in the PFC and ACC are most elevated in MDE with greater severity and reversed neurovegetative symptoms (hypersomnia and either hyperphagia or weight gain). MAO-A VT (an index of MAO-A density) was measured using [(11)C]harmine positron emission tomography (PET) in 42 subjects with MDE secondary to major depressive disorder (MDD) and 37 healthy controls. The effect of severity and reversed neurovegetative symptoms on MAO-A VT in the PFC and ACC were analyzed using a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA). Greater severity and reversed neurovegetative symptoms were associated with elevated MAO-A VT in the PFC and ACC (MANOVA, severity: F (2,38)=5.44, p=0.008; reversed neurovegetative symptoms: F (2,38) =5.13, p=0.01). Increased MAO-A level, when greater severity and reversed neurovegetative symptoms are present, may explain the association of these clinical features with a preferential response to MAO inhibitors, which is especially well-evidenced for reversed neurovegetative symptoms in MDE. Since MAO-A creates oxidative stress, facilitates apoptosis and metabolizes monoamines, therapeutics opposing these processes are predicted to best treat MDE with greater severity and reversed neurovegetative symptoms.Neuropsychopharmacology accepted article preview online, 24 October 2013; doi:10.1038/npp.2013.297.
Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 10/2013; 39(4). DOI:10.1038/npp.2013.297 · 7.05 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alcohol dependence (AD) is a multiorgan disease in which excessive oxidative stress and apoptosis are implicated. Monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) is an important enzyme on the outer mitochondrial membrane that participates in the cellular response to oxidative stress and mitochondrial toxicity. It is unknown whether MAO-A levels are abnormal in AD. We hypothesized that MAO-A VT, an index of MAO-A level, is elevated in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) during AD, because markers of greater oxidative stress and apoptosis are reported in the brain in AD and a microarray analysis reported greater MAO-A messenger RNA in the PFC of rodents exposed to alcohol vapor.
Sixteen participants with alcohol dependence and 16 healthy control subjects underwent [(11)C]-harmine positron emission tomography. All were nonsmoking, medication- and drug-free, and had no other past or present psychiatric or medical illnesses.
MAO-A VT was significantly greater in the PFC (37%, independent samples t test, t30 = 3.93, p < .001), and all brain regions analyzed (mean 32%, multivariate analysis of variance, F7,24 = 3.67, p = .008). Greater duration of heavy drinking correlated positively with greater MAO-A VT in the PFC (r = .67, p = .005) and all brain regions analyzed (r = .73 to .57, p = .001-.02).
This finding represents a new pathological marker present in AD that is therapeutically targetable through direct inhibition or by novel treatments toward oxidative/pro-apoptotic processes implicated by MAO-A overexpression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The dopamine system is a primary treatment target for cocaine dependence (CD), but research on dopaminergic abnormalities (eg, D2 receptor system deficiencies) has so far failed to translate into effective treatment strategies. The D3 receptor system has recently attracted considerable clinical interest, and D3 antagonism is now under investigation as a novel avenue for addiction treatment. The objective here was to evaluate the status and behavioural relevance of the D3 receptor system in CD, using the positron emission tomography (PET) radiotracer [(11)C]-(+)-PHNO. Fifteen CD subjects (many actively using, but all abstinent 7-240 days on scan day) and 15 matched healthy control (HC) subjects completed two PET scans: One with [(11)C]-(+)-PHNO to assess D3 receptor binding (BPND; calculated regionally using the simplified reference tissue model), and for comparison, a second scan with [(11)C]raclopride to assess D2/3 binding. CD subjects also completed a behavioural battery to characterize the addiction behavioural phenotype. CD subjects showed higher [(11)C]-(+)-PHNO BPND than HC in the substantia nigra, which correlated with behavioural impulsiveness and risky decision-making. In contrast, [(11)C]raclopride BPND was lower across the striatum in CD, consistent with previous literature in 2 week abstinence. The data suggest that in contrast to a D2 deficiency, CD individuals may have heightened D3 receptor levels, which could contribute to addiction-relevant traits. D3 upregulation is emerging as a biomarker in preclinical models of addiction, and human PET studies of this receptor system can help guide novel pharmacological strategies for treatment.Neuropsychopharmacology accepted article preview online, 7 August 2013. doi:10.1038/npp.2013.192.
Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 08/2013; 39(2). DOI:10.1038/npp.2013.192 · 7.05 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: AimsPathological gambling (PG) shares diagnostic features with substance use disorder (SUD), but the neurochemical mechanisms underlying PG are poorly understood. Because dopamine (DA), a neurotransmitter implicated in reward and reinforcement, is probably involved, we used positron emission tomography (PET) to test whether PG is associated with abnormalities in D2 and D3 receptor levels, as observed in SUD. DesignCase–control study comparing PG to healthy control (HC) subjects. SettingAcademic research imaging centre. ParticipantsThirteen non-treatment-seeking males meeting DSM-IV criteria for PG, and 12 matched HC (11 of whom completed PET). MeasurementsTwo PET scans (one with the D3 receptor preferring agonist [11C]-(+)-propyl-hexahydro-naphtho-oxazin (PHNO) and the other with [11C]raclopride) to assess D2/3 DA receptor availability, and behavioural measures (self-report questionnaires and slot-machine game) to assess subjective effects and relationships to PET measures. FindingsBinding of both radiotracers did not differ between groups in striatum or substantia nigra (SN) (all P > 0.1). Across PG, [11C]-(+)-PHNO binding in SN, where the signal is attributable primarily to D3 receptors, correlated with gambling severity (r = 0.57, P = 0.04) and impulsiveness (r = 0.65, P = 0.03). In HC, [11C]raclopride binding in dorsal striatum correlated inversely with subjective effects of gambling (r = −0.70, P = 0.03) and impulsiveness (r = −0.70, P = 0.03). Conclusions
Unlike with substance use disorder, there appear to be no marked differences in D2/D3 levels between healthy subjects and pathological gamblers, suggesting that low receptor availability may not be a necessary feature of addiction. However, relationships between [11C]-(+)-PHNO binding and gambling severity/impulsiveness suggests involvement of the D3 receptor in impulsive/compulsive behaviours.