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Assessing Dopaminergic Neurotransmission with PET: Basic Theory and Applications in Alcohol Research

[ Vol. 7 , Issue. 2 ]


Karmen K. Yoder, David A. Kareken and Evan D. Morris   Pages 118 - 124 ( 7 )


Over the last two decades, using PET imaging to assess changes in endogenous dopamine has become a standard neurochemical research technique. Initially, investigators focused on the in vivo study of direct pharmacological manipulation of the dopamine system (e.g., amphetamine, cocaine, methylphenidate). More recently, there has been a shift toward studying the role that dopamine plays in cognitive processes and in response to commonly used drugs with subtler effects on the dopamine system. Here, we outline the conceptual foundations of using PET to assess alterations in brain dopamine, and provide the reader with important theoretical constructs that must be addressed when designing such studies. Data from recent work with dopaminergic PET ligands are used to provide concrete examples of relevant design considerations.


Position emission tomography, neurotransmitter, dopamine D2 receptor, dopamine release, tracer kinetic modeling, amphetamine, methylphenidate, cocaine, potential, receptors


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