Dopaminergic action beyond its effects on motor function: Imaging studies

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Along with motor programming, it is now thought that tonic release of dopamine in the striatum acts to focus and filter non-motor activities such as working memory, implicit learning, decision making, and planning. Additionally, thresholds to painful stimuli may well be dopamine dependant. Phasic (burst) release of dopamine in the basal ganglia and frontal areas is thought to play a role in alerting organisms to novel and potentially rewarding stimuli and in mediating contextual learning. Dopamine release also drives a craving for stimuli and facilitates their enjoyment. Functional imaging can help elucidate the role of dopamine in mediating non-motor activities. The integrity of dopamine terminal function can be measured with PET and SPECT in vivo in health and Parkinson's disease (PD) and this can be correlated with performance of executive tasks. In addition, these imaging modalities allow dopamine release in response to stimuli (both rewarding and unrewarding) to be detected, as reflected by changes in D2 receptor availability to radioligands. Finally, the functional effects of dopamine deficiency and its replacement can be monitored by studying patterns of brain activation, as evidenced by regional blood flow changes. In this review, some of the insights that imaging has given us concerning the role of dopamine in non-motor functions is presented.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDopaminergic action beyond its effects on motor function
Volume253
Publication year1 Sep 2006
EditionSUPPL. 4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2006
SeriesJournal of Neurology
ISSN0340-5354

    Research areas

  • Activation, Dopamine, MRI, Non-motor, Parkinson, PET

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