Sex differences in extrastriatal dopamine d(2)-like receptors in the human brain

Am J Psychiatry. 2001 Feb;158(2):308-11. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.158.2.308.


Objective: The study examined gender differences in extrastriatal dopamine D2-like receptor levels in the human brain in vivo.

Method: [(11)C]FLB 457, a high-affinity radioligand for extrastriatal D(2)-like receptors, and a three-dimensional positron emission tomography system were used to measure D(2)-like receptor binding potentials in frontal cortex, temporal cortex, and thalamus in 12 healthy men and 12 healthy women.

Results: Women had higher D(2)-like receptor binding potentials than men in the three brain regions studied, and the difference in the frontal cortex was statistically significant. In a more detailed regional analysis, the difference between the sexes was most pronounced for the left and right anterior cingulate cortex.

Conclusions: This study provides in vivo evidence for a gender difference in dopamine D(2)-like receptor levels, which could be reflected in gender-associated differences in clinical disorders linked to the dopamine system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / diagnostic imaging
  • Frontal Lobe / metabolism
  • Functional Laterality
  • Gyrus Cinguli / diagnostic imaging
  • Gyrus Cinguli / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prefrontal Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Prefrontal Cortex / metabolism
  • Pyrrolidines
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / metabolism*
  • Salicylamides
  • Sex Factors
  • Temporal Lobe / diagnostic imaging
  • Temporal Lobe / metabolism
  • Thalamus / diagnostic imaging
  • Thalamus / metabolism
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed / statistics & numerical data


  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Pyrrolidines
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Salicylamides
  • FLB 457