Prefrontal D2-receptor stimulation mediates flexible adaptation of economic preference hierarchies

Authors

  • Thilo van Eimeren,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, PET Imaging Centre, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    2. Toronto Western Research Institute, Division of Brain, Imaging and Behaviour—Systems Neuroscience, BIB-SN, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Current affiliation:
    1. Christian-Albrechts University, Functional Imaging Team, Department of Neurology, Schleswig-Holstein University Hospital, Kiel, Germany
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  • Ji H. Ko,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, PET Imaging Centre, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    2. Toronto Western Research Institute, Division of Brain, Imaging and Behaviour—Systems Neuroscience, BIB-SN, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Giovanna Pellechia,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, PET Imaging Centre, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    2. Toronto Western Research Institute, Division of Brain, Imaging and Behaviour—Systems Neuroscience, BIB-SN, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Sang S. Cho,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, PET Imaging Centre, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    2. Toronto Western Research Institute, Division of Brain, Imaging and Behaviour—Systems Neuroscience, BIB-SN, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Sylvain Houle,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, PET Imaging Centre, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Antonio P. Strafella

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry, PET Imaging Centre, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    2. Toronto Western Research Institute, Division of Brain, Imaging and Behaviour—Systems Neuroscience, BIB-SN, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    • Toronto Western Hospital and Research Institute and CAMH-PET Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada
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Abstract

Advantageous economic decision making requires flexible adaptation of gain-based and loss-based preference hierarchies. However, where the neuronal blueprints for economic preference hierarchies are kept and how they may be adapted remains largely unclear. Phasic cortical dopamine release likely mediates flexible adaptation of neuronal representations. In this PET study, cortical-binding potential (BP) for the D2-dopamine receptor ligand [11C]FLB 457 was examined in healthy participants during multiple sessions of a probabilistic four-choice financial decision-making task with two behavioral variants. In the changing-gains/constant-losses variant, the implicit gain-based preference hierarchy was unceasingly changing, whereas the implicit loss-based preference hierarchy was constant. In the constant-gains/changing-losses variant, it was the other way around. These variants served as paradigms, respectively, contrasting flexible adaptation versus maintenance of loss-based and gain-based preference hierarchies. We observed that in comparison with the constant-gains/changing-losses variant, the changing-gains/constant-losses variant was associated with a decreased D2-dopamine receptor-BP in the right lateral frontopolar cortex. In other words, lateral frontopolar D2-dopamine receptor stimulation was specifically increased during continuous adaptation of mental representations of gain-based preference hierarchies. This finding provides direct evidence for the existence of a neuronal blueprint of gain-based decision-making in the lateral frontopolar cortex and a crucial role of local dopamine in the flexible adaptation of mental concepts of future behavior. Hum Brain Mapp, 2013. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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