We examined acute effects of intravenous diacetylmorphine (heroin) administration - which induces a characteristic biphasic response: A short rush-sensation associated with intense pleasurable feelings followed by a subjectively different period of euphoria on cerebral blood flow. This was assessed in nine male heroin dependent patients participating in a heroin maintenance program in a setting resembling everyday pattern of heroin abuse. 99mTc-HMPAO was administered 45 s (rush) and 15 min (euphoria) after administration of i.v. heroin and 45 s after administration of saline (placebo). Plasma concentration of diacetylmorphine and its metabolites were measured with high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC). Compared to the euphoria condition, rush was associated with blood flow increase in the left posterior cerebellar lobe, left anterior cingulate gyrus and right precuneus. Our results are in line with recent reports indicating that the cerebellum is an important component in functional brain systems subserving sensory and motor integration, learning, modulation of affect, motivation and social behaviour, which all play important roles in reinforcing properties of opioids.
- Single photon emission computed tomography
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry