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Functional imaging of the human dopaminergic midbrain

Duzel, E; Bunzeck, N; Guitart-Masip, M; Wittmann, B; Schott, BH; Tobler, PN; (2009) Functional imaging of the human dopaminergic midbrain. TRENDS NEUROSCI , 32 (6) 321 - 328. 10.1016/j.tins.2009.02.005.

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Abstract

Invasive recording of dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area (SN/VTA) of behaving animals suggests a role for these neurons in reward learning and novelty processing. In humans, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is currently the only non-invasive event-related method to measure SN/VTA activity, but it is debated to what extent fMRI enables inference about dopaminergic responses within the SN/VTA. We consider the anatomical and functional parcellation of the primate SN/VTA and find that its homogeneity suggests little variation in the regional specificity of fMRI signals for reward-related dopaminergic responses. Hence, these responses seem to be well captured by the compound fMRI signal from the SN/VTA, which seems quantitatively related to dopamine release in positron emission tomography (PET). We outline how systematic investigation of the functional parcellation of the SN/VTA in animals, new developments in fMRI analysis and combined PET-fMRI studies can narrow the gap between fMRI and dopaminergic neurotransmission.

Type: Article
Title: Functional imaging of the human dopaminergic midbrain
DOI: 10.1016/j.tins.2009.02.005
Keywords: VENTRAL TEGMENTAL AREA, LONG-TERM-MEMORY, SUBSTANTIA-NIGRA, REWARD SYSTEM, PARKINSONS-DISEASE, PREFRONTAL CORTEX, NEURAL MECHANISMS, GABA TRANSAMINASE, NEURONS ENCODE, BASAL GANGLIA
UCL classification: UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Psychology and Language Sciences (Division of) > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/177617
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