Dopamine plays an important role in the development of alcohol dependence, cognitive dysfunction, and is regulated via dopamine transporter activity. Although dopamine transporter activity is critically involved in alcohol dependence, studies observing this relationship are limited. Thus the current study examined whether dopamine transporter availability is associated with developing of alcohol dependence and cognitive dysfunction. Brain imaging with 99mTc-TRODAT-1 as a ligand was used to measure dopamine transporter availability among 26 male patients with pure alcohol dependence and 22 age- and sex-matched healthy volunteers. The Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) and Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire (TPQ) were administered to assess neurocognitive functioning and personality traits, respectively. Compared to healthy controls, patients with alcohol dependence showed a significant reduction in dopamine transporter availability (p < 0.001), as well as diminished performance on the WCST (p < 0.001). Dopamine transporter availability was negatively correlated with both total and perseverative WCST errors among healthy controls, but only patients with alcohol dependence showed a positive correlation between dopamine transporter availability and a harm avoidance personality profile. Thus, reductions in dopamine transporter availability may play a pathophysiological role in the development of pure alcohol dependence, given its association with neurocognitive deficits. Moreover, personality may influence the development of pure alcohol dependence; however, additional clinical subgroups should be examined to confirm this possibility.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)