Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UCLA Previously Published Works bannerUCLA

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



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.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View