Cerebral blood flow effects of acute intravenous heroin administration

Markus Kosel, Roger S. Noss, Robert Hämmig, Peter Wielepp, Petra Bundeli, Rebeca Heidbreder, Jane A. Kinser, Rudolf Brenneisen, Hans Ulrich Fisch, Sarah Kayser, Thomas E. Schlaepfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-285
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Addiction
  • Cerebellum
  • Diacetylmorphine
  • Heroin
  • Opioid
  • Single photon emission computed tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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