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Biol Psychiatry. 2010 Feb 1;67(3):275-8. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2009.07.037. Epub 2009 Oct 6.

Dopamine type 2/3 receptor availability in the striatum and social status in human volunteers.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York, USA.



Previous positron emission tomography (PET) imaging studies in nonhuman primates have shown that striatal dopamine type 2/3 (D(2/3)) receptors correlate with social hierarchy in monkeys and that dominant animals exhibit higher levels of D(2/3) receptor binding. The goal of the present study was to examine this phenomena in human subjects using PET and the radiotracer [(11)C]raclopride.


Fourteen healthy volunteers were scanned with [(11)C]raclopride to measure D(2/3) receptor binding potential (BP). Social status was assessed using the Barratt Simplified Measure of Social Status. In addition, participants were asked to assess their level of social support using the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS).


A correlation was seen between social status and dopamine D(2/3) receptors, where volunteers with the higher status had higher values for [(11)C]raclopride BP. A similar correlation was seen with the perceived social support, where higher [(11)C]raclopride BP correlated with higher scores on the MSPSS.


The results of this study support the hypothesis that social status and social support is correlated with D(2/3) receptor binding.

Copyright 2010 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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