Linking neuroscience with modern concepts of impulse control disorders in Parkinson's disease

Mov Disord. 2015 Feb;30(2):141-9. doi: 10.1002/mds.26068. Epub 2014 Dec 5.


Patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) may experience impulse control disorders (ICDs) when on dopamine agonist therapy for their motor symptoms. In the last few years, a rapid growth of interest for the recognition of these aberrant behaviors and their neurobiological correlates has occurred. Recent advances in neuroimaging are helping to identify the neuroanatomical networks responsible for these ICDs, and together with psychopharmacological assessments are providing new insights into the brain status of impulsive behavior. The genetic associations that may be unique to ICDs in PD are also being identified. Complementing human studies, electrophysiological and biochemical studies in animal models are providing insights into neuropathological mechanisms associated with these disorders. New animal models of ICDs in PD patients are being implemented that should provide critical means to identify efficacious therapies for PD-related motor deficits while avoiding ICD side effects. Here, we provide an overview of these recent advances, with a particular emphasis on the neurobiological correlates reported in animal models and patients along with their genetic underpinnings.

Keywords: 6-OHDA; PET; basal ganglia; dopamine agonists; fMRI; imaging; l-dopa; pramipexole; prefrontal cortex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / complications
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / diagnosis
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / genetics
  • Dopamine Agonists / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / drug effects*
  • Impulsive Behavior / physiology
  • Parkinson Disease / complications
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy*
  • Parkinson Disease / genetics


  • Dopamine Agonists