Individual differences in dopamine D2-like receptor availability arise across all brain regions expressing D2-like receptors. However, the interrelationships in receptor availability across brain regions are poorly understood. To address this issue, we examined the relationship between D2-like binding potential (BPND) across striatal and extrastriatal regions in a sample of healthy participants. PET imaging was performed with the high affinity D2/D3 ligand [18F]fallypride in 45 participants. BPND images were submitted to voxel-wise principal component analysis to determine the pattern of associations across brain regions. Individual differences in D2-like BPND were explained by three distinguishable components. A single component explained almost all of the variance within the striatum, indicating that individual differences in receptor availability vary in a homogenous manner across the caudate, putamen, and ventral striatum. Cortical BPND was only modestly related to striatal BPND and mostly loaded on a distinct component. After controlling for the general level of cortical D2-like BPND, an inverse relationship emerged between receptor availability in the striatum and the ventral temporal and ventromedial frontal cortices, suggesting possible cross-regulation of D2-like receptors in these regions. The analysis additionally revealed evidence of: (1) a distinct component involving the midbrain and limbic areas; (2) a dissociation between BPND in the medial and lateral temporal regions; and (3) a dissociation between BPND in the medial/midline and lateral thalamus. In summary, individual differences in D2-like receptor availability reflect several distinct patterns. This conclusion has significant implications for neuropsychiatric models that posit global or regionally specific relationships between dopaminergic tone and behavior.
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