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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Dorsal striatal dopamine, food preference and health perception in humans.

  • Author(s): Wallace, Deanna;
  • Aarts, Esther;
  • Dang, Linh;
  • Greer, Stephanie;
  • JAGUST, William J;
  • DEsposito, Mark
  • et al.

To date, few studies have explored the neurochemical mechanisms supporting individual differences in food preference in humans. Here we investigate how dorsal striatal dopamine, as measured by the positron emission tomography (PET) tracer [(18)F]fluorometatyrosine (FMT), correlates with food-related decision-making, as well as body mass index (BMI) in 16 healthy-weight to moderately obese individuals. We find that lower PET FMT dopamine synthesis binding potential correlates with higher BMI, greater preference for perceived healthy foods, but also greater healthiness ratings for food items. These findings further substantiate the role of dorsal striatal dopamine in food-related behaviors and shed light on the complexity of individual differences in food preference.

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