In vivo evidence for long-term CNS toxicity, associated with chronic binge use of methamphetamine

Yong An Chung, Bradley S. Peterson, Sujung J. Yoon, Sung Nam Cho, Sukhi Chai, Jaeseung Jeong, Dai Jin Kim

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23 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this study was to examine disturbances in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) associated with methamphetamine abuse. Methods: Using Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT), rCBF was measured in 20 men who had previously injected methamphetamine intravenously for over 30 months and who were now abstinent for a minimum of 9 months and for an average of 2 years. Values were compared with those in 12 healthy men who had never injected methamphetamine. Results: While rCBF was significantly and disproportionately reduced in subcortical and dorsal cortical brain regions, including the striatum, thalamus, cingulum, mesiodorsal prefrontal cortex, and pons (all t's >8.3 after global normalization, corrected p's <0.001), whole brain CBF was also significantly reduced in the former methamphetamine users. Binge use of methamphetamine is associated with long-term changes in both global and regional blood flows, likely representing severe and enduring neural toxicity of monoaminergic neurotransmitter systems in the brain, producing a pattern of hypoperfusion that resembles patterns reported previously for persons with atypical Parkinson's disease. Conclusions: These findings suggest that methamphetamine abusers may be possibly at increased risk for neurodegenerative diseases later in life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-160
Number of pages6
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by a grant from Biomedical Brain Research Center of the Korea Health 21 R&D Project funded by the Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea. (A040042) and by National Institute of Drug Abuse DA017820.


  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Methamphetamine
  • SPM
  • Toxicity


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