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Psychiatry Res. 2011 Aug 30;193(2):80-4. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2011.01.011.

Dopamine D2/D3 receptor availability and venturesomeness.

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Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Mainz, Mainz, Germany.


The construct of impulsivity is considered as a major trait of personality. There is growing evidence that the mesolimbic dopamine system plays an important role in the modulation of impulsivity and venturesomeness, the two key components within the impulsivity-construct. The aim of the present study was to explore an association between trait impulsivity measured with self-assessment and the dopaminergic neurotransmission as measured by positron emission tomography (PET) in a cohort of healthy male subjects. In vivo D2/D3 receptor availability was determined with [(18)F]fallypride PET in 18 non-smoking healthy subjects. The character trait impulsivity was measured using the Impulsiveness-Venturesomeness-Empathy questionnaire (I7). Image processing and statistical analysis was performed on a voxel-by-voxel basis using statistical parametric mapping (SPM) software. The I7 subscale venturesomeness correlated positively with the D2/D3 receptor availability within the left temporal cortex and the thalamus. Measures on the I7 subscale impulsiveness and empathy did not correlate with the D2/D3 receptor availability in any brain region investigated. Our results suggest the involvement of extrastriatal dopaminergic neurotransmission in venturesomeness, a component of impulsivity.

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