Catecholaminergic challenge uncovers distinct Pavlovian and instrumental mechanisms of motivated (in)action
Positron emission tomography (PET) studies have reported an association between reduced striatal dopamine D2/3 receptor availability and higher scores on self-report measures of trait impulsivity in healthy adults. However, impulsivity is a multi-faceted construct, and it is unclear which aspect(s) of impulsivity might be driving these associations. The current study aimed to investigate the relationship between limbic (ventral) striatal D2/3 receptor availability and individual components of impulsivity (attentional, motor and non-planning) using the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS-11) and [(11)C]raclopride PET in 23 healthy volunteers. A partial correlational analysis showed a significant association between non-planning impulsiveness (lack of forethought or 'futuring') and limbic D2/3 receptor availability, which was only apparent after the exclusion of potential dissimulators (indexed by high scores on impression management). Our findings suggest that non-planning impulsiveness is associated with individual variation in limbic striatal D2/3 receptor availability and that different facets of impulsivity may have specific neurochemical correlates. Future studies that combine D2/3 receptor imaging with behavioral measures of impulsivity are required to further elucidate the precise relationship between individual components of trait impulsivity and brain dopaminergic function.