The relationship between dopamine neurotransmitter dynamics and the blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) signal: A review of pharmacological functional magnetic resonance imaging

Tyler J. Bruinsma, Vidur V. Sarma, Yoonbae Oh, Dong Pyo Jang, Su Youne Chang, Greg A. Worrell, Val J. Lowe, Hang Joon Jo, Hoon Ki Min

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is widely used in investigations of normal cognition and brain disease and in various clinical applications. Pharmacological fMRI (pharma-fMRI) is a relatively new application, which is being used to elucidate the effects and mechanisms of pharmacological modulation of brain activity. Characterizing the effects of neuropharmacological agents on regional brain activity using fMRI is challenging because drugs modulate neuronal function in a wide variety of ways, including through receptor agonist, antagonist, and neurotransmitter reuptake blocker events. Here we review current knowledge on neurotransmitter-mediated blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) fMRI mechanisms as well as recently updated methodologies aimed at more fully describing the effects of neuropharmacologic agents on the BOLD signal. We limit our discussion to dopaminergic signaling as a useful lens through which to analyze and interpret neurochemical-mediated changes in the hemodynamic BOLD response. We also discuss the need for future studies that use multi-modal approaches to expand the understanding and application of pharma-fMRI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number238
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Volume12
Issue numberAPR
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 10 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH R01 NS088260 to S-YC and NIH R01 NS92882 to GW). We thank Dr. Penelope S. Duffy for her editorial contributions and review

Keywords

  • BOLD
  • Dopamine
  • FMRI
  • Fast-scan cyclic voltammetry
  • Pharma-fMRI

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