Evidence for absence of links between striatal dopamine synthesis capacity and working memory capacity, spontaneous eye-blink rate, and trait impulsivity

Ruben van den Bosch*, Frank H. Hezemans, Jessica I. Määttä, Lieke Hofmans, Danae Papadopetraki, Robbert-Jan Verkes, Andre F. Marquand, Jan Booij, Roshan Cools

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Individual differences in striatal dopamine synthesis capacity have been associated with working memory capacity, trait impulsivity, and spontaneous eye-blink rate (sEBR), as measured with readily available and easily administered, ‘off-the-shelf’ tests. Such findings have raised the suggestion that individual variation in dopamine synthesis capacity, estimated with expensive and invasive brain positron emission tomography (PET) scans, can be approximated with simple, more pragmatic tests. However, direct evidence for the relationship between these simple trait measures and striatal dopamine synthesis capacity has been limited and inconclusive. We measured striatal dopamine synthesis capacity using [18 F]-FDOPA PET in a large sample of healthy volunteers (N = 94) and assessed the correlation with simple, short tests of working memory capacity, trait impulsivity, and sEBR. We additionally explored the relationship with an index of subjective reward sensitivity. None of these trait measures correlated significantly with striatal dopamine synthesis capacity, nor did they have out-of-sample predictive power. Bayes factor analyses indicated the evidence was in favour of absence of correlations for all but subjective reward sensitivity. These results warrant caution for using these off-the-shelf trait measures as proxies of striatal dopamine synthesis capacity.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere83161
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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