June 1990

Cocaine-Induced Redoppuction of Glucose Utilization in Human BrainA Study Using Positron Emission Tomography and [Fluorine 18]-Fluorodeoxyglucose

Author Affiliations

From the Addiction Research Center, National Institute on Drug Abuse (Drs London, Cascella, Phillips, Herning, and Jaffe); and Division of Nuclear Medicine, Department of Radiology (Drs Wong, Dannals, Links, and Wagner), and Department of Anesthesiology (Dr Grayson), The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Md.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1990;47(6):567-574. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1990.01810180067010

• We examined the effects of cocaine hydrochloride (40 mg intravenously) on regional cerebral metabolic rates for glucose and on subjective self-reports of eight polydrug abusers in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. The regional cerebral metabolic rate for glucose was measured by the [fluorine 18]-fluorodeoxyglucose method, using positron emission tomography. With eyes covered, subjects listened to a tape that presented white noise, "beep" prompts, and questions about subjective effects of cocaine or saline. Cocaine produced euphoria and reduced glucose utilization globally (mean reduction, 14%). Twenty-six of 29 brain regions (all neocortical areas, basal ganglia, portions of the hippocampal formation, thalamus, and midbrain) showed significant decrements (5% to 26%) in the regional cerebral metabolic rate for glucose. No significant effects of cocaine were observed in the pons, the cerebellar cortex, or the vermis. Right-greater-than-left hemispheric asymmetry of regional cerebral metabolic rates for glucose occurred in the lateral thalamus. The findings demonstrate that reduced cerebral metabolism is associated with cocaine-induced euphoria.