Journal of Neural Transmission

, Volume 122, Issue 10, pp 1391–1398 | Cite as

mRNA expression of dopamine receptors in peripheral blood lymphocytes of computer game addicts

  • Nasim VousooghiEmail author
  • Seyed Zeinolabedin Zarei
  • Mitra-Sadat Sadat-Shirazi
  • Fatemeh Eghbali
  • Mohammad Reza Zarrindast
Translational Neurosciences - Original Article


Excessive playing of computer games like some other behaviors could lead to addiction. Addictive behaviors may induce their reinforcing effects through stimulation of the brain dopaminergic mesolimbic pathway. The status of dopamine receptors in the brain may be parallel to their homologous receptors in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs). Here, we have investigated the mRNA expression of dopamine D3, D4 and D5 receptors in PBLs of computer game addicts (n = 20) in comparison to normal subjects (n = 20), using a real-time PCR method. The results showed that the expression level of D3 and D4 dopamine receptors in computer game addicts were not statistically different from the control group. However, the expression of the mRNA of D5 dopamine receptor was significantly down-regulated in PBLs of computer game addicts and reached 0.42 the amount of the control group. It is concluded that unlike with drug addiction, the expression levels of the D3 and D4 dopamine receptors in computer game addicts are not altered compared to the control group. However, reduced level of the D5 dopamine receptor in computer game addicts may serve as a peripheral marker in studies where the confounding effects of abused drugs are unwanted.


Computer game addiction Lymphocyte Dopamine receptor mRNA expression 



The authors acknowledge the grant support of the Tehran University of Medical Sciences (91-03-49-19464).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nasim Vousooghi
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Seyed Zeinolabedin Zarei
    • 2
    • 3
  • Mitra-Sadat Sadat-Shirazi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fatemeh Eghbali
    • 4
  • Mohammad Reza Zarrindast
    • 2
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Neuroscience, School of Advanced Technologies in MedicineTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  2. 2.Iranian National Center for Addiction Studies (INCAS), Iranian Institute for Reduction of High-Risk BehaviorsTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  3. 3.Department of NeuroscienceMedical University of ViennaViennaAustria
  4. 4.Department of Emergency, Namazi HospitalShiraz University of Medical SciencesShirazIran
  5. 5.Department of Pharmacology, School of MedicineTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  6. 6.Institute for Studies in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics, School of Cognitive SciencesTehranIran
  7. 7.Institute for Cognitive Science StudiesTehranIran

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