Cocaine abusers do not show loss of dopamine transporters with age

Gene Jack Wang, Nora D. Volkow, Joanna S. Fowler, Marian Fischman, Richard Foltin, Naji N. Abumrad, Jean Logan, Naomi R. Pappas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Cocaine blocks dopamine transporters (DAT) and this effect is crucial to its reinforcing properties. To assess the effects of chronic cocaine on DAT we evaluated 20 current cocaine abusers and 20 age matched controls using PET and [C-11]cocaine as a DAT ligand. Though there were no differences in DAT availability between groups, current cocaine abusers (and 12 detoxified cocaine abusers studied previously) did not show the typical age-related decline in DAT seen in controls. Though further studies are required to rule out sampling effects and to control for confounding variables (i.e. smoking), one could speculate that chronic DAT blockade by cocaine has a protective effect on the loss of DAT with age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1059-1065
Number of pages7
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - 8 Aug 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Age
  • Cocaine abuser
  • Dopamine transporter
  • Positron emission tomography
  • [C-11]cocaine


Dive into the research topics of 'Cocaine abusers do not show loss of dopamine transporters with age'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this