Dopaminergic alterations in populations at increased risk for psychosis: A systematic review of imaging findings

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Abstract

Alterations of the dopaminergic system may be important neurobiological correlates of vulnerability and transition to psychosis. We systematically reviewed the evidence for dopaminergic alterations demonstrated by in-vivo imaging studies in humans at increased risk of developing psychosis, covering clinical, genetic, and environmental high-risk groups. All 63 included studies utilized Positron Emission Tomography (PET), Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT), or neuromelanin-sensitive Magnetic Resonance Imaging (NM-MRI) methods to collect data concerning the dopaminergic system during rest and/or following pharmacological, behavioural, or cognitive challenges. The current evidence highlights that 1) striatal dopamine D2/3 receptor availability is unaltered in all three high-risk groups compared with healthy individuals; 2) striatal dopamine synthesis capacity (sDSC) is increased in some clinical and genetic high-risk individuals relative to controls (e.g. people that meet clinical criteria for being at ultra-high risk of developing psychosis and individuals with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome), while sDSC is decreased in cannabis-using environmental high-risk individuals. It seems likely that all three high-risk groups can be stratified into multiple subgroups, with varying risks to develop psychosis, transition rates, and underlying neurobiology. The present results support the hypothesis that dopaminergic abnormalities occur before high-risk individuals develop psychosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102265
Number of pages24
JournalProgress in Neurobiology
Volume213
Early online date26 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Keywords

  • 22Q11.2 DELETION SYNDROME
  • At -risk
  • CATECHOL-O-METHYLTRANSFERASE
  • CHRONIC CANNABIS USERS
  • CLINICAL HIGH-RISK
  • D-2/D-3 RECEPTOR AVAILABILITY
  • Dopamine
  • INCREASED GENETIC RISK
  • Neuroimaging
  • POSITRON-EMISSION-TOMOGRAPHY
  • Psychosis
  • SOCIAL DEFEAT HYPOTHESIS
  • SYNTHESIS CAPACITY
  • ULTRA-HIGH-RISK

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