L-DOPA disrupts activity in the nucleus accumbens during reversal learning in Parkinson's disease

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2007 Jan;32(1):180-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.npp.1301153. Epub 2006 Jul 12.


Evidence indicates that dopaminergic medication in Parkinson's disease may impair certain aspects of cognitive function, such as reversal learning. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging in patients with mild Parkinson's disease to investigate the neural site at which L-DOPA acts during reversal learning. Patients were scanned both ON and OFF their normal dopamine-enhancing L-DOPA medication during the performance of a probabilistic reversal learning task. We demonstrate that L-DOPA modulated reversal-related activity in the nucleus accumbens, but not in the dorsal striatum or the prefrontal cortex. These data concur with evidence from studies with experimental animals and indicate an important role for the human nucleus accumbens in the dopaminergic modulation of reversal learning.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Levodopa / pharmacology*
  • Levodopa / therapeutic use
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nucleus Accumbens / blood supply
  • Nucleus Accumbens / drug effects*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / blood supply
  • Prefrontal Cortex / drug effects
  • Reversal Learning / drug effects*


  • Levodopa
  • Oxygen