Dopamine homeostasis: brain functional connectivity in reward deficiency syndrome

Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2017 Jan 1;22(4):669-691. doi: 10.2741/4509.


Reward deficiency syndrome (RDS) was first proposed by Kenneth Blum in 1995 to provide a clinically relevant and predictive term for conditions involving deficits in mesocorticolimbic dopamine function. Genetic, molecular, and neuronal alterations in key components of this circuitry contribute to a reward deficit state that can drive drug-seeking, consumption, and relapse. Among the dysfunctions observed in RDS are dysregulated resting state networks, which recently have been assessed in detail in chronic drug users by, positron emission tomography, functional magnetic resonance imaging, and functional connectivity analysis. A growing number of studies are helping to determine the putative roles of dopamine and glutamatergic neurotransmission in the regulation of activity in resting state networks, particularly in brain reward circuitry affected in drug use disorders. Indeed, we hypothesize in the present review that loss of homeostasis of these systems may lead to 'unbalanced' functional networks that might be both cause and outcome of disrupted synaptic communication between cortical and subcortical systems essential for controlling reward, emotional control, sensation seeking, and chronic drug use.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Behavior, Addictive / genetics
  • Behavior, Addictive / physiopathology
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Compulsive Behavior / genetics
  • Compulsive Behavior / physiopathology
  • Dopamine / physiology*
  • Glutamine
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / physiology
  • Models, Neurological
  • Models, Psychological
  • Reward*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / genetics
  • Substance-Related Disorders / physiopathology


  • Glutamine
  • Dopamine