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Neuroimage. 2013 Jan 1;64:61-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.09.011. Epub 2012 Sep 13.

No association between striatal dopamine transporter binding and body mass index: a multi-center European study in healthy volunteers.

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Department of Nuclear Medicine, Academic Medical Center University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Dopamine is one among several neurotransmitters that regulate food intake and overeating. Thus, it has been linked to the pathophysiology of obesity and high body mass index (BMI). Striatal dopamine D(2) receptor availability is lower in obesity and there are indications that striatal dopamine transporter (DAT) availability is also decreased. In this study, we tested whether BMI and striatal DAT availability are associated.


The study included 123 healthy individuals from a large European multi-center database. They had a BMI range of 18.2-41.1 kg/m(2) and were scanned using [(123)I]FP-CIT SPECT imaging. Scans were analyzed with both region-of-interest and voxel-based analysis to determine the binding potential for DAT availability in the caudate nucleus and putamen. A direct relation between BMI and DAT availability was assessed and groups with high and low BMI were compared for DAT availability.


No association between BMI and striatal DAT availability was found.


The lack of an association between BMI and striatal DAT availability suggests that the regulation of striatal synaptic dopamine levels by DAT plays no or a limited role in the pathophysiology of overweight and obesity.

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