Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2012 Nov;224(2):337-45. doi: 10.1007/s00213-012-2755-4. Epub 2012 Jun 15.

Higher striatal dopamine transporter density in PTSD: an in vivo SPECT study with [(99m)Tc]TRODAT-1.

Author information

  • 1Instituto do Cérebro, Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa do Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, São Paulo, Brazil.



Some evidence suggests a hyperdopaminergic state in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The 9-repetition allele (9R) located in the 3' untranslated region of the dopamine transporter (DAT) gene (SLC6A3) is more frequent among PTSD patients. In vivo molecular imaging studies have shown that healthy 9R carriers have increased striatal DAT binding. However, no prior study evaluated in vivo striatal DAT density in PTSD.


The objective of this study was to evaluate in vivo striatal DAT density in PTSD.


Twenty-one PTSD subjects and 21 control subjects, who were traumatized but asymptomatic, closely matched comparison subjects evaluated with the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale underwent a single-photon emission computed tomography scan with [(99m)TC]-TRODAT-1. DAT binding potential (DAT-BP) was calculated using the striatum as the region of the interest and the occipital cortex as a reference region.


PTSD patients had greater bilateral striatal DAT-BP (mean ± SD; left, 1.80 ± 0.42; right, 1.78 ± 0.40) than traumatized control subjects (left, 1.62 ± 0.32; right, 1.61 ± 0.31; p = 0.039 for the left striatum and p = 0.032 for the right striatum).


These results provide the first in vivo evidence for increased DAT density in PTSD. Increases in DAT density may reflect higher dopamine turnover in PTSD, which could contribute to the perpetuation and potentiation of exaggerated fear responses to a given event associated with the traumatic experience. Situations that resemble the traumatic event turn to be interpreted as highly salient (driving attention, arousal, and motivation) in detriment of other daily situations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk