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Cigarette Use and Striatal Dopamine D2/3 Receptors: Possible Role in the Link between Smoking and Nicotine Dependence.

  • Author(s): Okita, Kyoji
  • Mandelkern, Mark A
  • London, Edythe D
  • et al.


Cigarette smoking induces dopamine release in the striatum, and smoking- or nicotine-induced ventral striatal dopamine release is correlated with nicotine dependence. Smokers also exhibit lower dopamine D2/3 receptor availability in the dorsal striatum than nonsmokers. Negative correlations of striatal dopamine D2/3 receptor availability with smoking exposure and nicotine dependence, therefore, might be expected but have not been tested.


Twenty smokers had positron emission tomography scans with [18F]fallypride to measure dopamine D2/3 receptor availability in ventral and dorsal regions of the striatum and provided self-report measures of recent and lifetime smoking and of nicotine dependence.


As reported before, lifetime smoking was correlated with nicotine dependence. New findings were that ventral striatal dopamine D2/3 receptor availability was negatively correlated with recent and lifetime smoking and also with nicotine dependence.


The results suggest an effect of smoking on ventral striatal D2/3 dopamine receptors that may contribute to nicotine dependence.

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