Cerebral blood flow changes in man by wake-promoting drug, modafinil: a randomized double blind study


Seung Bong Hong, Department of Neurology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University, 50 Irwon-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul 135-710, Korea. Tel.: +82 2 3410 3592; fax: +82 2 3410 0052; e-mail: sbhong@skku.edu or sbhongsmc@gmail.com


To investigate the effects of a wake-promoting drug, modafinil on regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) in healthy volunteers, we performed 99mTc-ethylcysteinate dimer single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) before and after modafinil or placebo administration. Twenty-one healthy subjects received single doses of 400 mg modafinil or placebo in a double blind randomized crossover study design. Administrations of modafinil or placebo in a subject were separated by a 2-week washout. Brain SPECT was performed twice before and 3 h after modafinil or placebo administration. For statistical parametric mapping analysis, all SPECT images were spatially normalized to the standard SPECT template and then smoothed using a 12-mm full width at half-maximum Gaussian kernel. The paired t-test was used to compare pre- versus post-modafinil and pre- versus post-placebo SPECT images. Differences in rCBF between post-modafinil and post-placebo conditions were also tested. Modafinil decreased Epworth and Stanford sleepiness scales whereas placebo did not. The post-modafinil condition was associated with increased rCBF in bilateral thalami and dorsal pons, whereas the post-placebo condition showed increased rCBF in a smaller area of the dorsal pons when compared with the drug naïve baseline condition. Compared with the post-placebo condition, the post-modafinil condition showed higher rCBF in bilateral frontopolar, orbitofrontal, superior frontal, middle frontal gyri, short insular gyri, left cingulate gyrus, left middle/inferior temporal gyri, left parahippocampal gyrus, and left pons. In healthy volunteers, modafinil increased wakefulness and rCBF in the arousal-related systems and in brain areas related to emotion and executive function.