The response to rapid infusion of fentanyl in the human brain measured using pulsed arterial spin labelling

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We evaluated the sensitivity of pulsed Arterial Spin Labelling (pASL) for the detection of changes in regional cerebral blood perfusion (CBP) during and after intra-venous (i.v.) infusion of an opioid agonist (fentanyl) and an opioid antagonist (naloxone). Twenty-three subjects were scanned four times, receiving i.v. infusion of fentanyl, naloxone, placebo and a second fentanyl administration, in four separate scanning sessions in randomised order. End-tidal CO2, respiration rate and heart rate were recorded continuously throughout each scan. pASL time series were collected using single shot EPI for 15 min (including 5 min of baseline prior to infusion). Significant increases in CBP were detected during and after administration of fentanyl, (when compared to placebo and naloxone), in most areas of high concentration of mu-opioid receptors (thalamus, lingual gyrus, para-hippocampal gyrus, and insula); near-significant increases were also observed in the insula. No increases in perfusion were observed during or after naloxone infusion. No correlation was found between regional rCBF changes and end-tidal CO2, respiration rate or heart rate. Good reliability was found between the first and second fentanyl sessions but the regions of high reliability did not overlap completely with those of highest perfusion change. pASL is a suitable method for examining rapid, dynamic effects of opioid administration on brain physiology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163 - 175
Number of pages13
JournalMagma: Magnetic Resonance Materials in Physics, Biology and Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


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