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Cereb Cortex. 2009 Feb;19(2):445-54. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhn095. Epub 2008 Jun 11.

Striatal dopamine and working memory.

Author information

1
Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3190, USA. slandau@berkeley.edu

Abstract

Recent studies have emphasized the importance of dopamine projections to the prefrontal cortex (PFC) for working memory (WM) function, although this system has rarely been studied in humans in vivo. However, dopamine and PFC activity can be directly measured with positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), respectively. In this study, we examined WM capacity, dopamine, and PFC function in healthy older participants in order to test the hypothesis that there is a relationship between these 3 factors. We used the PET tracer 6-[18F]fluoro-L-m-tyrosine to measure dopamine synthesis capacity in the striatum (caudate, putamen), and event-related fMRI to measure brain activation during different epochs (cue, delay, probe) of a WM task. Caudate (but not putamen) dopamine correlated positively with WM capacity, whereas putamen (but not caudate) dopamine correlated positively with motor speed. In addition, delay-related fMRI activation in a left inferior prefrontal region was related to both caudate dopamine and task accuracy, suggesting that this may be a critical site for the integration of WM maintenance processes. These results provide new evidence that striatal dopaminergic function is related to PFC-dependent functions, particularly brain activation and behavioral performance during WM tasks.

PMID:
18550595
PMCID:
PMC2733326
DOI:
10.1093/cercor/bhn095
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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