• Gil Leurquin-Sterk
  • Jenny Ceccarini
  • Cleo L. Crunelle
  • Bart de Laat
  • Jef Verbeek
  • Stephanie Deman
  • Hugo Neels
  • Guy Bormans
  • Hendrik Peuskens
  • Koen Van Laere

Animal studies suggest an important role for the metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 (mGlu5) in the pathophysiology of alcohol dependence, but direct human evidence is lacking. The goal of this study was to investigate cerebral mGlu5 availability in alcohol-dependent subjects versus controls using 18F-3-fluoro-5-[(pyridin-3-yl)ethynyl]benzonitrile ( 18F-FPEB) PET. Methods: Dynamic 90-min 18F-FPEB scans combined with arterial blood sampling were acquired for 16 recently abstinent alcohol-dependent subjects and 32 age-matched controls. Regional mGlu5 availability was quantified by the 18F-FPEB total distribution volume using both a voxel-by-voxel and a volume-of-interest analysis with partial-volume effect correction. Alcohol consumption within the last 3 mo was assessed by questionnaires and by hair ethyl glucuronide analysis. Craving was assessed using the Desire for Alcohol Questionnaire. Results: mGlu5 availability was lower in mainly limbic regions of alcohol-dependent subjects than in controls (P, 0.05, familywise error–corrected), ranging from 14% in the posterior cingulate cortex to 36% in the caudate nucleus. Lower mGlu5 availability was associated with higher hair ethyl glucuronide levels for most regions and was related to a lower level of craving specifically in the middle frontal gyrus, cingulate cortex, and inferolateral temporal lobe. Conclusion: These findings provide human in vivo evidence that limbic mGlu5 has a role in the pathophysiology of alcohol dependence, possibly involved in a compensatory mechanism helping to reduce craving during abstinence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)682-690
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018

    Research areas

  • PET, mGlu5, alcohol dependence, craving

ID: 46821521