Striatal dopamine D1-type receptor availability: No difference from control but association with cortical thickness in methamphetamine users

K. Okita, A. M. Morales, A. C. Dean, M. C. Johnson, V. Lu, J. Farahi, M. A. Mandelkern, E. D. London

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Chronic methamphetamine use poses potentially devastating consequences for directly affected individuals and for society. Lower dopamine D2-type receptor availability has been observed in striata of methamphetamine users as compared with controls, but an analogous comparison of D1-type receptors has been conducted only on post-mortem material, with no differences in methamphetamine users from controls in the caudate nucleus and putamen and higher D1-receptor density in the nucleus accumbens. Released from neurons when methamphetamine is self-administered, dopamine binds to both D1- and D2-type receptors in the striatum, with downstream effects on cortical activity. Thus, both receptor subtypes may contribute to methamphetamine-induced alterations in cortical morphology and behavior. In this study, 21 methamphetamine-dependent subjects and 23 healthy controls participated in positron emission tomography and structural magnetic resonance imaging for assessment of striatal D1- and D2-type receptor availability and cortical gray-matter thickness, respectively. Although D2-type receptor availability (BPnd) was lower in the methamphetamine group, as shown previously, the groups did not differ in D1-type BPnd. In the methamphetamine group, mean cortical gray-matter thickness was negatively associated with cumulative methamphetamine use and craving for the drug. Striatal D1-type but not D2-type BPnd was negatively associated with global mean cortical gray-matter thickness in the methamphetamine group, but no association was found between gray-matter thickness and BPnd for either dopamine receptor subtype in the control group. These results suggest a role of striatal D1-type receptors in cortical adaptation to chronic methamphetamine use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1320-1327
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Psychiatry
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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