Dopamine D2 receptor availability is associated with subjective responses to alcohol

Karmen K. Yoder, David A. Kareken, Regat A. Seyoum, Sean J. O'Connor, Chunzhi Wang, Qi Huang Zheng, Bruce Mock, Evan D. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

65 Scopus citations


Background: The mesolimbic dopaminergic system is thought to mediate alcohol abuse and dependence. Determining the relationship between in vivo dopamine and the subjective response to alcohol could improve understanding of the mechanisms that lead to alcohol abuse and dependence. Here, we examined the relationship between dopamine D2 receptors in the nucleus accumbens and scores of perceived "high" and "intoxication" during an intravenous (IV) alcohol infusion. Methods: Nine healthy control subjects received [11C]raclopride PET scanning at baseline. Eight subjects received a second [11C]raclopride scan during a pharmacodynamically modeled and controlled rise of IV alcohol, followed by steady state (60 mg% ± 5 mg%) alcohol infusion. Numerical ratings of "high" and "intoxication" were tested for correlations with measures of dopaminergic function. Results: Baseline D2 receptor availability in the left nucleus accumbens was significantly correlated with peak perceived "intoxication" (p = 0.02) and marginally correlated with peak perceived "high" (p = 0.07). Conclusions: Resting D2 receptor availability may predict healthy subject responses to alcohol exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)965-970
Number of pages6
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2005


  • Alcohol
  • D Receptor
  • Positron Emission Tomography
  • Raclopride
  • Subjective Perceptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology

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