Do you currently use cocaine or have you recently used cocaine? Are you aged 18–55? You may be able to participate in a research study to help learn more about two proteins in the brain that may play a role in substance use disorders. Compensation is provided.
Some research suggests that proteins called nociceptin/orphanin FQ and dopamine play an important role in substance use disorders. Nociceptin is used by the brain to pass messages between brain cells, and may help regulate pain, stress, and reward functions; dopamine seems to regulate reward, pleasure, and motivation.
The purpose of this study is to learn more about the role of nociceptin/orphanin FQ and dopamine in people who use cocaine. 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 18-55
- Currently use or have recently used cocaine
- No current or past history of serious medical conditions (hypertension, heart attack, seizure, stroke)
- Not pregnant or breastfeeding
- Able and willing to undergo MRI and PET/CT scanning (not claustrophobic; no non-removable metal in your body)
WHAT PARTICIPANTS CAN EXPECT
Study participation involves at least four scanning visits and up to 16 follow-up urine drug screen visits over a period of four months and includes questionnaires, interviews, and brain scanning. The brain scanning includes magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, positron emission tomography/computerized tomography (PET/CT) scans, electrocardiogram, the administration of intravenous hydrocortisone and oral amphetamine, blood and urine tests, and other assessments.
IRB: STUDY20060171C- Imaging the mechanisms by which nociceptin receptors (NOP) modulate stress and reward in cocaine use disorders
MEET THE RESEARCHER
Dr. 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.