Plasma midkine levels in patients with cocaine use disorder during abstinence.

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Preclinical evidence suggests that endogenous midkine could play a key modulatory role on the neurotoxic and addictive effects of different kinds of drugs of abuse, including psychostimulants. However, this hypothesis has not yet been explored in humans. As a first approach to progress in this knowledge, we have comparatively studied plasma midkine levels in 75 patients with cocaine use disorder under abstinence and 26 control subjects matched for sex, age and body mass index. Patients were further segmented into early-abstinent (up to one month of abstinence, n = 30) and late-abstinent (more than one month of abstinence, n = 45). Midkine levels were quantified in plasma samples of all the participants by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Early-abstinent patients exhibited a 60% increase of midkine plasma concentration in comparison with the controls. This elevation tended to normalize upon the progression of abstinence. The results obtained demonstrate that peripheral midkine levels are closely related to cocaine use and are consistent with the idea that this cytokine could play a protective role by limiting the biological activity of psychostimulants.
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