Neuroscience Bulletin

, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 765–776 | Cite as

Brain dopaminergic system changes in drug addiction: a review of positron emission tomography findings

  • Haifeng Hou
  • Chunyan Wang
  • Shaowei Jia
  • Shu Hu
  • Mei TianEmail author


Dopamine (DA) is considered crucial for the rewarding effects of drugs of abuse, but its role in addiction remains unclear. Positron emission tomography (PET) is the first technology used for in vivo measurement of components of the dopaminergic system in the human brain. In this article, we review the major findings from PET imaging studies on the involvement of DA in drug addiction, including presynaptic DA synthesis, vesicular monoamine transporter 2, the DA transporter, and postsynaptic DA receptors. These results have corroborated the role of DA in addiction and increased the understanding of its underlying mechanisms.


dopamine dopaminergic system drug addiction positron emission tomography 


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Copyright information

© Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haifeng Hou
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Chunyan Wang
    • 5
  • Shaowei Jia
    • 6
  • Shu Hu
    • 6
  • Mei Tian
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Nuclear Medicinethe Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of MedicineHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Zhejiang University Medical PET CenterHangzhouChina
  3. 3.Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular ImagingZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  4. 4.Key Laboratory of Medical Molecular Imaging of Zhejiang ProvinceHangzhouChina
  5. 5.Beijing 307 HospitalBeijingChina
  6. 6.Department of Nuclear MedicinePeking University Shenzhen HospitalShenzhenChina

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