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World J Biol Psychiatry. 2013 Mar;14(2):139-45. doi: 10.3109/15622975.2011.598559. Epub 2011 Sep 22.

Serotonin 1B receptor imaging in pathological gambling.

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Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06519, USA.


Abstract Objectives. Although serotonergic mechanisms have been implicated in pathological gambling (PG), no ligand-based imaging studies have assessed serotonin receptors in individuals with PG. Given its role in substance addictions and its abundance in brain regions implicated in PG, we evaluated serotonin 1B receptors (5-HT1BRs) in PG. Methods. Ten medication-free subjects with PG (mean ± SD age = 36.3 ± 9.4 years, nine men) and ten control comparison (CC) subjects (mean ± SD age = 35.8 ± 9.9 years, nine men) underwent [(11)C]P943 positron emission scanning on a high resolution research tomograph. Results. 5-HT1BR BPND values were similar in PG and CC subjects (P > 0.1). Among PG subjects, scores on the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS) correlated positively with 5-HT1BR BPND values in the ventral striatum (r = 0.66; P = 0.04), putamen (r = 0.67; P = 0.03) and anterior cingulate cortex (r = 0.73; P = 0.02). Conclusions. These findings provide the first evidence that PG severity in humans is linked to increased levels of 5-HT1BRs in regions previously implicated in functional neuroimaging studies of PG. These findings indicate a potential role for serotonergic function in the ventral striatum and anterior cingulate cortex contributing to problem gambling severity and warrant further studies to investigate whether numbers of available 5-HT1BRs might represent a vulnerability factor for PG or develop in relationship to problem gambling.

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