A preliminary study of dopamine D2/3 receptor availability and social status in healthy and cocaine dependent humans imaged with [(11)C](+)PHNO (2015)

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2015 Sep 1;154:167-73. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.06.039. Epub 2015 Jun 30.

Matuskey D1, Gaiser EC2, Gallezot JD3, Angarita GA4, Pittman B4, Nabulsi N3, Ropchan J3, MaCleod P4, Cosgrove KP2, Ding YS5, Potenza MN6, Carson RE3, Malison RT4.



Previous work in healthy non-human primates and humans has shown that social status correlates positively with dopamine 2/3 receptor (D2/3R) availability imaged with antagonist radioligands and positron emission tomography (PET). Further work in non-human primates suggests that this relationship is disrupted by chronic cocaine administration. This exploratory study examined the relationship between social status and D2/3R availability in healthy (HH) and cocaine dependent (CD) humans using the D3-preferring, agonist radioligand, [(11)C](+)PHNO.


Sixteen HH and sixteen CD individuals completed the Barratt Simplified Measure of Social Status (BSMSS) and underwent [(11)C](+)PHNO scanning to measure regional brain D2/3R binding potentials (BPND). Correlations between BPND and BSMSS scores were then assessed within each group.


Within HH and CD groups, inverse associations between BSMSS score and BPND were observed in the substantia nigra/ventral tegmental area (SN/VTA) and the ventral striatum, and for the CD group alone, the amygdala. After adjusting for body mass index and age, negative correlations remained significant in the SN/VTA for HH and in the amygdala for CD subjects.


These preliminary data utilizing a dopamine agonist tracer demonstrate, for the first time, an inverse association between social status and D2/3R availability in the D3R rich extrastriatal regions of HH and CD humans.

Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


Cocaine; Dopamine; PET imaging; Social status; [(11)C](+)PHNO