Striatal dopamine D2 binding correlates with locus of control: Preliminary evidence from [11C]raclopride Positron Emission Tomography
SourceInternational Journal of Psychophysiology, 146, (2019), pp. 117-124
Article / Letter to editor
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PI Group Motivational & Cognitive Control
International Journal of Psychophysiology
Subject170 000 Motivational & Cognitive Control; Radboudumc 13: Stress-related disorders DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience
The ability to exert control has been widely investigated as a hallmark of adaptive behaviour. Dopamine is recognized as the key neuromodulator mediating various control-related processes. The neural mechanisms underlying the subjective perception of being in control, or Locus of Control (LOC) are however less clear. LOC indicates the subjective tendency to attribute environmental outcomes to one's actions (internal LOC) or instead to external incontrollable factors (external LOC). Here we hypothesized that dopamine levels also relate to LOC. Previous work shows that dopamine signaling mediates learning of action-outcome relationships, outcome predictability, and opportunity cost. Prominent theories propose dopamine dysregulation as the key pathogenetic mechanism in schizophrenia and depression. Critically, external LOC is a risk factor for schizophrenia and depression, and predicts increased vulnerability to stress. However, a direct link between LOC and dopamine levels in healthy control had not been demonstrated. The purpose of our study was to investigate this link. Using [11C]raclopride Positron Emission Tomography we tested the relationship between D2 receptor binding in the striatum and LOC (measured with the Rotter Locus of Control scale) in 15 healthy volunteers. Our results show a large and positive correlation: increased striatal D2 binding was associated with External LOC. This finding opens promising avenues for the study of several psychological impairments that have been associated with both dopamine and LOC, such as addiction, schizophrenia, and depression.
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