Abnormal modulation of reward versus punishment learning by a dopamine D2-receptor antagonist in pathological gamblers
Number of pages
SourcePsychopharmacology, 232, 18, (2015), pp. 3345-3353
Article / Letter to editor
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PI Group Motivational & Cognitive Control
PI Group Affective Neuroscience
SW OZ BSI KLP
Subject170 000 Motivational & Cognitive Control; 230 Affective Neuroscience; Experimental Psychopathology and Treatment; Radboudumc 13: Stress-related disorders DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience; Radboudumc 3: Disorders of movement DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience
RATIONALE: Pathological gambling has been associated with dopamine transmission abnormalities, in particular dopamine D2-receptor deficiency, and reversal learning deficits. Moreover, pervasive theoretical accounts suggest a key role for dopamine in reversal learning. However, there is no empirical evidence for a direct link between dopamine, reversal learning and pathological gambling. OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study is to triangulate dopamine, reversal learning, and pathological gambling. METHODS: Here, we assess the hypothesis that pathological gambling is accompanied by dopamine-related problems with learning from reward and punishment by investigating effects of the dopamine D2-receptor antagonist sulpiride (400 mg) on reward- and punishment-based reversal learning in 18 pathological gamblers and 22 healthy controls, using a placebo-controlled, double-blind, counter-balanced design. RESULTS: In line with previous studies, blockade of D2 receptors with sulpiride impaired reward versus punishment reversal learning in controls. By contrast, sulpiride did not have any outcome-specific effects in gamblers. CONCLUSION: These data demonstrate that pathological gambling is associated with a dopamine-related anomaly in reversal learning from reward and punishment.
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