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Cereb Cortex. 2015 Jan;25(1):236-45. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bht218. Epub 2013 Aug 21.

Risk-taking behavior: dopamine D2/D3 receptors, feedback, and frontolimbic activity.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences Neuroscience Interdepartmental Program.
2
Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences.
3
Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology Veterans Administration of Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.
4
Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences Veterans Administration of Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.
5
Veterans Administration of Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System Department of Physics, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA, USA.
6
Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences Neuroscience Interdepartmental Program Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology Brain Research Institute, University of California Los Angeles University of California Los Angeles Semel Institute, Los Angeles, CA 90024, USA and Veterans Administration of Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.

Abstract

Decision-making involves frontolimbic and dopaminergic brain regions, but how prior choice outcomes, dopamine neurotransmission, and frontostriatal activity are integrated to affect choices is unclear. We tested 60 healthy volunteers using the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART) during functional magnetic resonance imaging. In the BART, participants can pump virtual balloons to increase potential monetary reward or cash out to receive accumulated reward; each pump presents greater risk and potential reward (represented by the pump number). In a separate session, we measured striatal D2/D3 dopamine receptor binding potential (BPND) with positron emission tomography in 13 of the participants. Losses were followed by fewer risky choices than wins; and during risk-taking after loss, amygdala and hippocampal activation exhibited greater modulation by pump number than after a cash-out event. Striatal D2/D3 BPND was positively related to the modulation of ventral striatal activation when participants decided to cash out and negatively to the number of pumps in the subsequent trial; but negatively related to the modulation of prefrontal cortical activation by pump number when participants took risk, and to overall earnings. These findings provide in vivo evidence for a potential mechanism by which dopaminergic neurotransmission may modulate risk-taking behavior through an interactive system of frontal and striatal activity.

KEYWORDS:

decision-making; dopamine receptors; fMRI; pet; risk-taking; striatum

PMID:
23966584
PMCID:
PMC4259280
DOI:
10.1093/cercor/bht218
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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