BACKGROUND - PD patients treated with dopamine therapy can develop maladaptive impulsive and compulsive behaviors, manifesting as repetitive participation in reward-driven activities. This behavioral phenotype implicates aberrant mesocorticolimbic network function, a concept supported by past literature. However, no study has investigated the acute hemodynamic response to dopamine agonists in this subpopulation.
OBJECTIVES - We tested the hypothesis that dopamine agonists differentially alter mesocortical and mesolimbic network activity in patients with impulsive-compulsive behaviors.
METHODS - Dopamine agonist effects on neuronal metabolism were quantified using arterial-spin-labeling MRI measures of cerebral blood flow in the on-dopamine agonist and off-dopamine states. The within-subject design included 34 PD patients, 17 with active impulsive compulsive behavior symptoms, matched for age, sex, disease duration, and PD severity.
RESULTS - Patients with impulsive-compulsive behaviors have a significant increase in ventral striatal cerebral blood flow in response to dopamine agonists. Across all patients, ventral striatal cerebral blood flow on-dopamine agonist is significantly correlated with impulsive-compulsive behavior severity (Questionnaire for Impulsive Compulsive Disorders in Parkinson's Disease- Rating Scale). Voxel-wise analysis of dopamine agonist-induced cerebral blood flow revealed group differences in mesocortical (ventromedial prefrontal cortex; insular cortex), mesolimbic (ventral striatum), and midbrain (SN; periaqueductal gray) regions.
CONCLUSIONS - These results indicate that dopamine agonist therapy can augment mesocorticolimbic and striato-nigro-striatal network activity in patients susceptible to impulsive-compulsive behaviors. Our findings reinforce a wider literature linking studies of maladaptive behaviors to mesocorticolimbic networks and extend our understanding of biological mechanisms of impulsive compulsive behaviors in PD. © 2017 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.
© 2017 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.