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Reduced striatal dopamine D2/3 receptor availability in Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Publication year 2016
Published in European Neuropsychopharmacology
Authors Nienke C Vulink, Robin S Planting, M. Figee, Jan Booij, D. Denys

Though the dopaminergic system is implicated in Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders (OCRD), the dopaminergic system has never been investigated in-vivo in Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). In line with consistent findings of reduced striatal dopamine D2/3 receptor availability in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), we hypothesized that the dopamine D2/3 receptor availability in the striatum will be lower in patients with BDD in comparison to healthy subjects. Striatal dopamine D2/3 receptor Binding Potential (BPND) was examined in 12 drug-free BDD patients and 12 control subjects pairwise matched by age, sex, and handedness using [(123)I]iodobenzamide Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT; bolus/constant infusion technique). Regions of interest were the caudate nucleus and the putamen. BPND was calculated as the ratio of specific striatal to binding in the occipital cortex (representing nonspecific binding). Compared to controls, dopamine D2/3 receptor BPND was significantly lower in BDD, both in the putamen (p=0.017) and caudate nucleus (p=0.022). This study provides the first evidence of a disturbed dopaminergic system in BDD patients. Although previously BDD was classified as a separate disorder (somatoform disorder), our findings give pathophysiological support for the recent reclassification of BDD to the OCRD in DSM-5.

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