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Receptor Availability in Brain, Novelty-Seeking Traits Linked

PET scans, novelty-seeking scale shed light on D2-like receptor availability in ventral midbrain

MONDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Novelty-seeking traits in humans appear to be associated with lowered D2-like receptor availability in the substantia nigra/ventral tegmental area, which might lead to heightened dopaminergic responses to novel situations, according to research published Dec. 31 in the Journal of Neuroscience.

David H. Zald, Ph.D., of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and colleagues analyzed data from 34 healthy right-handed young men and women. Participants completed a novelty seeking scale, which also explores decision-making speed, spending habits, and behaviors with regards to rules and regulations. Participants also underwent positron emission tomography scanning with the high-affinity D2/D3 radioligand [18F]fallypride to assess D2-like receptor availability.

The investigators found that novelty seeking traits were inversely associated with ventral midbrain D2-like receptor availability. Controlling for age had little effect on this finding.

"In summary, the present data show a striking convergence between rodents and humans in the relationship between midbrain autoregulatory factors and novelty related temperamental traits," the authors conclude. "We speculate that DA autoregulatory factors influence multiple aspects of how organisms respond to novelty and reward, and that individual differences in these factors are manifest in overlapping, albeit non-identical, temperamental traits across species."

Abstract
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