Social nicotine smokers (cigarette or vape) between 30 and 50 years of age are needed for a brain imaging research study. Participation involves questionnaires, interviews, brain scanning (1 MRI and 2 PET scans), and the administration of intravenous hydrocortisone. Compensation provided.
Some research suggests that a protein called nociceptin/orphanin FQ play an important role in substance use. Nociceptin/orphanin FQ is used by the brain to pass messages between brain cells, and may help regulate pain, stress, and reward functions.
The purpose of this study is to learn more about the role of nociceptin/orphanin FQ in people who are smokers. Researchers hope their findings will lead to better ways to prevent relapse in substance use disorders in the future.
COULD THIS STUDY BE RIGHT FOR YOU?
- Ages 30-50
- Smoke nicotine socially (cigarettes or vapes)
- Medically healthy
- Medication-free (birth control is acceptable)
- No current or past psychiatric history, such as bipolar disorder, psychotic disorder, alcohol or drug use disorders
- Able and willing to undergo MRI scanning (not claustrophobic, no non-removable metal in your body) and PET scans
- Not pregnant or breastfeeding
WHAT PARTICIPANTS CAN EXPECT
Participation involves an initial phone call to find out if you are eligible to be scheduled for an in-person screening visit. The in-person screening visit includes questionnaires, interviews, psychiatric and physical exams, electrocardiogram, and blood and urine collection.
Eligible participants who decide to take part in the study will have at least two additional visits, including a MRI scan, and a full day of PET scanning. Before the second PET scan, participants will be injected with hydrocortisone through an intravenous (IV) line.
IRB:STUDY19110156C - Imaging the response of nociceptive opioid receptors to an acute hydrocortisone challenge in cocaine use disorders
MEET THE RESEARCHER
Rajesh Narendran, MD, is an Associate Professor of Radiology at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Narendran specializes in using positron emission tomography (PET) radiotracers to understand the neurochemical abnormalities in stress-related and addictive disorders in humans. Aside from his work in research, Dr. Narendran is a fully licensed PA physician and a board-certified psychiatrist who treats drug/alcohol addicted and psychiatric patients at the UPMC WPIC re:solve crisis center.