Clinical and psychometric correlates of dopamine D2 binding in depression.
Shah PJ., Ogilvie AD., Goodwin GM., Ebmeier KP.
BACKGROUND: Single photon emission tomography (SPET) with the dopamine D2/3 ligand 123I-IBZM gives a semi-quantitative estimate of dopamine binding. In depressed patients, we predicted evidence of reduced function, i.e. increased binding, particularly in more retarded patients. METHODS: Fifteen depressed patients with major depressive illness and 15 healthy, age- and sex- matched volunteerS were examined with a clinical and neuropsychological test battery and high resolution IBZM-SPET. Estimates for specific binding were computed by averaging striatum to whole slice or frontal uptake ratios over 8-10 scans acquired from 70 min after tracer injection. RESULTS: Using whole slice as reference, left striatal uptake ratios did not significantly differ for patients from controls. Right ratios were significantly higher in patients than controls (P = 0.03). There were significant correlations between IBZM binding in left and right striatum and measures of reaction time and verbal fluency. CONCLUSIONS: Increased IBZM binding in striatum probably reflects reduced dopamine function, whether due to reduced release of dopamine, or secondary up-regulation of receptors. The observed abnormalities may be trait or state related, an issue that needs to be addressed with longitudinal study designs. The possible role of medication as a confounding variable requires further exploration.