Evaluation of age-related changes in serotonin 5-HT2 and dopamine D2 receptor availability in healthy human subjects

Gene Jack Wang, Nora D. Volkow, Jean Logan, Joanna S. Fowler, David Schlyer, Robert R. MacGregor, Robert J. Hitzemann, Ruben C. Gur, Alfred P. Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


We assessed the relation between serotonin 5-HT2 receptor availability and aging and compared it with that for dopamine D2 receptors on 19 healthy male volunteers (age range, 21-49 years) using positron emission tomography (PET) and F-18 N-methylspiperone (NMS). 5-HT2 Receptor availability was obtained using the ratio of the distribution volume in the region of interest to that in the cerebellum ( Bmax′ Kd′ + 1). 5-HT2 Receptor measures were obtained in frontal and occipital cortices. D2 receptor availability in striatum was measured using the "ratio index". 5-HT2 Receptor availability decreased significantly with age. This effect was significantly more accentuated for 5-HT2 receptor availability in the frontal (r = 0.92, p ≤ 0.0001) than in the occipital (r = 0.67, p ≤ 0.0016) cortex (df = l, p < 0.025). Dopamine D2 receptors were also found to decrease significantly with age (r = 0.63, p ≤ 0.007). In a given subject, striatal D2 receptor availability significantly correlated with 5-HT2 receptor availability in the frontal (r = 0.51, p ≤ 0.035) but not in the occipital cortex. These results document a decline in 5-HT2 and D2 receptor availability with age and showed an association between frontal 5-HT2 and striatal D2 receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)PL249-PL253
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number14
StatePublished - Feb 24 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • aging
  • dopamine D
  • serotonin 5-HT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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