Personality traits and striatal 6-[18F]fluoro-L-dopa uptake in healthy elderly subjects

Neurosci Lett. 2002 Oct 25;332(1):61-4. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3940(02)00929-1.


Positron emission tomography (PET) studies have been carried out to examine dopaminergic correlates of human personality traits. In patients with Parkinson's disease, right caudate 6-[(18)F]fluoro-L-dopa ((18)F-dopa) uptake has recently been reported to correlate with a depression/anxiety related-personality trait of harm avoidance. The present study aimed to further study personality and striatal dopaminergic function, now with (18)F-dopa in healthy individuals, and to determine specifically whether the link between harm avoidance and (18)F-dopa uptake is a general phenomenon, seen also in healthy subjects. Twenty-five Caucasian neurologically healthy elderly subjects (mean age=60 years; 13 men, 12 women) were scanned with 3D (18)F-dopa PET, coregistered with magnetic resonance imaging, and each subject filled out the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) and the Karolinska Scales of Personality (KSP). The TCI harm avoidance did not correlate with right caudate (18)F-dopa uptake (r=-0.08, P=0.71, uncorrected, effects of age and sex partialled out), or with the (18)F-dopa uptake in any other striatal region (r=-0.07-0.16, P>0.47). Correlations with other personality scales, including the TCI novelty-seeking and the KSP detachment, were also non-significant. The results indicate that the previous positive findings concerning harm avoidance and (18)F-dopa uptake in Parkinson's disease are disease-related, and that they can not be generalized to healthy individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Corpus Striatum / diagnostic imaging*
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Fluorine Radioisotopes
  • Humans
  • Levodopa / metabolism*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality / physiology*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed* / methods
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed* / statistics & numerical data


  • Fluorine Radioisotopes
  • Levodopa