Dardo Tomasi1, Nora D. Volkow2,3, Ruiliang L. Wang1, Frank Telang1, Gene-Jack Wang1, Joanna S. Fowler1
1Medical Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY, USA; 2National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute on Health, Bethesda, MD, USA; 3National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA
Dopamine (DA) is implicated in the modulation of attention but its specific role is not well understood. Here we assessed the relationship between DA markers [DA D2 receptors (D2R) and transporters (DAT)] in the striatum with PET and brain activation during a parametric visual attention (VA) task (measured with BOLD-fMRI) in healthy controls. Increased DAT and D2R availability in striatum were associated with higher activation of the precuneus (BA 7) and the thalamus. Thus, this study suggests that the DA mesostriatal pathways facilitate attention by modulating the activation of regions in the alerting and orienting pathways of attention.