Neuroimaging studies of brain corpus striatum changes among heroin-dependent patients treated with herbal medicine, U'finer ™ capsule


Professor Wei Wang, MD, PhD, Department of Biology, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 19A Yue Quan Road, Beijing100039, China. Tel: + 86 10 8911 1971; Fax: + 86 10 8825 6373; E-mail:


Chronic exposure to heroin is associated with structural changes in dopaminergic (DA) neurones. The present study examined the effects of a new herbal medicine, U'finer TM capsule, on the brain corpus striatum and DA systems, comparing pre- and post- treatment in 36 heroin-dependent patients. Neuroimaging studies were performed by using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) with 99m Tc-TRODAT-1 as radiotracer. The results show that U'finer TM significantly repaired the damaged bilateral corpus striatum, restoring it to a ‘panda eye? shape, analogous in size and shape to that of the healthy volunteers. DA transporter (DAT) function in the bilateral corpus striatum was restored to a normal state after recovery from neurotoxic insult. These findings suggest that U'finer TM is a reliable herbal medicine in the treatment of heroin dependency