Prefrontal and striatal dopamine D2/D3 receptors correlate with fMRI BOLD activation during stopping

Brain Imaging Behav. 2022 Feb;16(1):186-198. doi: 10.1007/s11682-021-00491-y. Epub 2021 Aug 17.


D2-like dopamine receptors in animals and humans have been shown to be linked to impulsive behaviors that are highly relevant for several psychiatric disorders. Here, we investigate the relationship between the fronto-striatal D2/D3 dopamine receptor availability and response inhibition in a selected population of healthy OPRM1 G-allele carriers. Twenty-two participants successively underwent blood-oxygen level dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while performing a stop-signal task and a separate positron emission tomography (PET) scan. Striatal and extrastriatal D2/D3 dopamine receptor availability was measured using the radiotracer [18F]fallypride. Caudate D2/D3 dopamine receptor availability positively correlated with stopping-related fronto-striatal fMRI activation. In addition, right prefrontal D2/D3 dopamine receptor availability correlated positively with stopping-related striatal fMRI BOLD signal. Our study partially replicates previous findings on correlations between striatal D2/D3 dopamine receptor availability and response inhibition in a population selected for its genetic determination of dopamine response to alcohol and as a modulator of impulse control via the endogenous opioid system. We confirm the important role of D2/D3 dopamine receptor availability in the fronto-striatal neural circuit for response inhibition. Moreover, we extend previous findings suggesting that dopamine receptor availability in the right inferior frontal cortex, a crucial region of the stopping network, is also strongly associated with stopping-related striatal fMRI activity in healthy OPRM1 G-allele carriers.

Keywords: OPRM1 gene; Right inferior frontal gyrus; Stop-signal task; Striatum; [18F]fallypride positron emission tomography.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Corpus Striatum / diagnostic imaging
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism
  • Dopamine*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / genetics
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / metabolism
  • Receptors, Dopamine D3 / genetics
  • Receptors, Dopamine D3 / metabolism


  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Receptors, Dopamine D3
  • Dopamine