Mesolimbic dopamine reward system hypersensitivity in individuals with psychopathic traits.

Buckholtz JW, Treadway MT, Cowan RL, Woodward ND, Benning SD, Li R, Ansari MS, Baldwin RM, Schwartzman AN, Shelby ES, Smith CE, Cole D, Kessler RM, Zald DH
Nat Neurosci. 2010 13 (4): 419-21

PMID: 20228805 · PMCID: PMC2916168 · DOI:10.1038/nn.2510

Psychopathy is a personality disorder that is strongly linked to criminal behavior. Using [(18)F]fallypride positron emission tomography and blood oxygen level-dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging, we found that impulsive-antisocial psychopathic traits selectively predicted nucleus accumbens dopamine release and reward anticipation-related neural activity in response to pharmacological and monetary reinforcers, respectively. These findings suggest that neurochemical and neurophysiological hyper-reactivity of the dopaminergic reward system may comprise a neural substrate for impulsive-antisocial behavior and substance abuse in psychopathy.

MeSH Terms (19)

Adolescent Adult Antisocial Personality Disorder Brain Mapping Criminals Dopamine Female Humans Impulsive Behavior Limbic System Magnetic Resonance Imaging Male Nucleus Accumbens Personality Assessment Positron-Emission Tomography Receptors, Dopamine Reward Single-Blind Method Young Adult

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