A National Research Priority Program of  
the

Logo der Deutschen Forschungsgesellschaft

Funding Period 2007 - 2010

P 14

Dopamine metabolism in nicotine dependence: [18 F]FDOPA-PET and FMRI studies in smoking and detoxified subjects

Prof. Dr. Gerhard Gruender (Principle Investigator)
RWTH University Aachen
Dept. of Psychiatry
Pauwelsstr. 30, 52074 Aachen
+49/(0)241/80-89821
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

together with:

Prof. Dr. Udalrich Buell
RWTH University Aachen
Dept. of Nuclear Medicine
Pauwelsstr. 30, 52074 Aachen
+49/(0)241/80-88740 or -88741
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Prof. Dr. Tilo Kircher
Universität Marburg
Klinik für  Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie
Rudolf-Bultmannstrasse 8, 35043 Marburg
+49/(0)6421/58-65200
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dr. Dirk Leube
RWTH University Aachen
Dept. of Psychosomatics & Psychotherapy
Pauwelsstr. 30, 52074 Aachen
+49/(0)241/80-80523
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dr. Ingo Vernaleken
RWTH University Aachen
Dept. of Psychiatry
Pauwelsstr. 30, 52074 Aachen
+49/(0)241/80-89654
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dr. Katja Spreckelmeyer
RWTH University Aachen
Dept. of Psychiatry
Pauwelsstr. 30, 52074 Aachen
+49/(0)241/8089984
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dopamine activity as assessed with [18F]FDOPA PET has been reported to be increased in striatum of smokers compared to non-smokers. On the other hand, in detoxified alcoholic patients [18F]FDOPA uptake was negatively correlated with alcohol craving at time of the PET scan. Using PET with [18F]FDOPA as the radiotracer and FMRI, this longitudinal study in dependent smokers will explore the functional state of dopaminergic systems at various stages of smoking and its cessation and relate these states to behavioral and neuropsychological variables and clinical outcome. Dependent smokers will undergo an [18F]FDOPA PET scan either immediately after the last cigarette (n = 20) or in acute withdrawal (n = 20). They will also be investigated with FMRI employing paradigms which tap into the reward system, and cue reactivity.The control group consists of 20 non-smokers. All smokers will then be treated in an outpatient treatment program (as part of the multicenter trial of the Priority Program). Assuming a relapse (and dropout) rate of 50% after six months, the remaining subjects (n = 20) will undergo a follow-up PET and FMRI scan after that period of abstinence. It is hypothezised that dopamine activity and BOLD contrast during the FMRI paradigms is increased in smokers, decreases in acute withdrawal and returns to normal after abstinence. It is further hypothesized that relapse risk can be predicted from the baseline studies. This study is designed to explore the neurobiological basis of nicotine dependence and to determine predictors for relapse risk, which will allow for development of novel (pharmacologic) treatment approaches.