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Research Report

Association of Nerve Growth Factor and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A with Psychometric Measurements of Opiate Dependence: Results of a Pilot Study in Patients Participating in a Structured Diamorphine Maintenance Program

Heberlein A.a, b · Dürsteler-MacFarland K.M.a, b · Frieling H.a, b · Gröschl M.c · Lenz B.b · Bönsch D.d · Kornhuber J.b · Wiesbeck G.A.e · Bleich S.a, b · Hillemacher T.a, b

Author affiliations

aCenter for Addiction Research (CARe), Department of Psychiatry, Social Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, bDepartment of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy and cDepartment of Pediatrics, University Hospital Erlangen, Erlangen, and dBezirkskrankenhaus Lohr, Lohr am Main, Germany; eDivision of Substance Use Disorders, Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland

Related Articles for ""

Eur Addict Res 2012;18:213–219

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Research Report

Received: August 29, 2011
Accepted: February 07, 2012
Published online: April 20, 2012
Issue release date: August 2012

Number of Print Pages: 7
Number of Figures: 2
Number of Tables: 1

ISSN: 1022-6877 (Print)
eISSN: 1421-9891 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/EAR

Abstract

Preclinical study results suggest that neurotrophic peptides like nerve growth factor (NGF) and vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) may be associated with symptoms of addictive behavior like withdrawal symptoms and rewarding effects. We investigated alterations in NGF and VEGF-A serum levels in opiate-dependent patients (25 male patients), who received diamorphine (DAM, heroin) treatment within a structured opiate maintenance program, and compared the results with the NGF and VEGF-A serum levels of healthy controls (23 male controls). NGF and VEGF-A serum levels were assessed before and after DAM administration twice a day (in the morning (16 h after last application – t1) and in the afternoon (7 h after last application – t3)) in order to detect a possible immediate or summative (in the afternoon) heroin effect on these two neuropeptides. Moreover, we investigated possible associations between the serum levels of these neurotrophic growth factors and psychometric dimensions of addictive behavior, e.g. craving, withdrawal, depression. Whereas there was no direct effect of DAM application on the serum levels of both neurotrophic growth factors neither in the morning nor in the afternoon, the NGF serum levels of the patient group were found to be significantly increased at all four time points of investigation compared with the healthy controls. In contrast, VEGF-A serum levels did not differ significantly in the patient and control groups. We found a significant positive association between the NGF serum levels and several items of the short opiate withdrawal scale as well as a negative association between self-reported mood (measured by visual analogue scale) and mood before heroin application (in the morning as in the afternoon). Moreover, we found a significant positive association between the NGF serum levels (t1 and t3) and the self-reported craving for methadone. In contrast, we found a negative association between the VEGF-A serum levels and avoidance, anxiety, suicide intentions of the SCL-90 as well as a positive association between the VEGF-A serum levels and the subscales of the heroin craving questionnaire measuring the rewarding effects of heroin. In conclusion, the results of this pilot study show that there might be an association between symptoms of opiate dependence and withdrawal and serum levels of VEGF-A and NGF.

© 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Research Report

Received: August 29, 2011
Accepted: February 07, 2012
Published online: April 20, 2012
Issue release date: August 2012

Number of Print Pages: 7
Number of Figures: 2
Number of Tables: 1

ISSN: 1022-6877 (Print)
eISSN: 1421-9891 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/EAR


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Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
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