Published in

Springer Nature [academic journals on nature.com], Neuropsychopharmacology, 6(49), p. 924-932, 2024

DOI: 10.1038/s41386-024-01803-8

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Brain connectivity changes to fast versus slow dopamine increases

This paper was not found in any repository, but could be made available legally by the author.
This paper was not found in any repository, but could be made available legally by the author.

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Abstract

AbstractThe rewarding effects of stimulant drugs such as methylphenidate (MP) depend crucially on how fast they raise dopamine in the brain. Yet how the rate of drug-induced dopamine increases impacts brain network communication remains unresolved. We manipulated route of MP administration to generate fast versus slow dopamine increases. We hypothesized that fast versus slow dopamine increases would result in a differential pattern of global brain connectivity (GBC) in association with regional levels of dopamine D1 receptors, which are critical for drug reward. Twenty healthy adults received MP intravenously (0.5 mg/kg; fast dopamine increases) and orally (60 mg; slow dopamine increases) during simultaneous [11C]raclopride PET-fMRI scans (double-blind, placebo-controlled). We tested how GBC was temporally associated with slow and fast dopamine increases on a minute-to-minute basis. Connectivity patterns were strikingly different for slow versus fast dopamine increases, and whole-brain spatial patterns were negatively correlated with one another (rho = −0.54, pspin < 0.001). GBC showed “fast>slow” associations in dorsal prefrontal cortex, insula, posterior thalamus and brainstem, caudate and precuneus; and “slow>fast” associations in ventral striatum, orbitofrontal cortex, and frontopolar cortex (pFDR < 0.05). “Fast>slow” GBC patterns showed significant spatial correspondence with D1 receptor availability (estimated via normative maps of [11C]SCH23390 binding; rho = 0.22, pspin < 0.05). Further, hippocampal GBC to fast dopamine increases was significantly negatively correlated with self-reported ‘high’ ratings to intravenous MP across individuals (r(19) = −0.68, pbonferroni = 0.015). Different routes of MP administration produce divergent patterns of brain connectivity. Fast dopamine increases are uniquely associated with connectivity patterns that have relevance for the subjective experience of drug reward.