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Functional imaging of the human dopaminergic midbrain


Düzel, E; Bunzeck, N; Guitart-Masip, M; Wittmann, B; Schott, B H; Tobler, Philippe N (2009). Functional imaging of the human dopaminergic midbrain. Trends in Neurosciences, 32(6):321-328.

Abstract

Invasive recording of dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area (SN/VTA) of behaving animals suggests a role for these neurons in reward learning and novelty processing. In humans, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is currently the only non-invasive event-related method to measure SN/VTA activity, but it is debated to what extent fMRI enables inference about dopaminergic responses within the SN/VTA. We consider the anatomical and functional parcellation of the primate SN/VTA and find that its homogeneity suggests little variation in the regional specificity of fMRI signals for reward-related dopaminergic responses. Hence, these responses seem to be well captured by the compound fMRI signal from the SN/VTA, which seems quantitatively related to dopamine release in positron emission tomography (PET). We outline how systematic investigation of the functional parcellation of the SN/VTA in animals, new developments in fMRI analysis and combined PET-fMRI studies can narrow the gap between fMRI and dopaminergic neurotransmission.

Abstract

Invasive recording of dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area (SN/VTA) of behaving animals suggests a role for these neurons in reward learning and novelty processing. In humans, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is currently the only non-invasive event-related method to measure SN/VTA activity, but it is debated to what extent fMRI enables inference about dopaminergic responses within the SN/VTA. We consider the anatomical and functional parcellation of the primate SN/VTA and find that its homogeneity suggests little variation in the regional specificity of fMRI signals for reward-related dopaminergic responses. Hence, these responses seem to be well captured by the compound fMRI signal from the SN/VTA, which seems quantitatively related to dopamine release in positron emission tomography (PET). We outline how systematic investigation of the functional parcellation of the SN/VTA in animals, new developments in fMRI analysis and combined PET-fMRI studies can narrow the gap between fMRI and dopaminergic neurotransmission.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
08 University Research Priority Programs > Foundations of Human Social Behavior: Altruism and Egoism
Dewey Decimal Classification:170 Ethics
330 Economics
Language:English
Date:2009
Deposited On:27 Oct 2011 13:28
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:03
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0166-2236
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tins.2009.02.005
PubMed ID:19446348

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