L-dopa modulates functional connectivity in striatal cognitive and motor networks: A double-blind placebo-controlled study

Clare Kelly, Greig De Zubicaray, Adriana Di Martino, David A. Copland, Philip T. Reiss, Donald F. Klein, F. Xavier Castellanos, Michael P. Milham, Katie McMahon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Functional connectivity (FC) analyses of resting-state fMRI data allow for the mapping of large-scale functional networks, and provide a novel means of examining the impact of dopaminergic challenge. Here, using a double-blind, placebo-controlled design, we examined the effect of L-dopa, a dopamine precursor, on striatal resting-state FC in 19 healthy young adults.Weexamined the FC of 6 striatal regions of interest (ROIs) previously shown to elicit networks known to be associated with motivational, cognitive and motor subdivisions of the caudate and putamen (Di Martino et al., 2008). In addition to replicating the previously demonstrated patterns of striatal FC, we observed robust effects of L-dopa. Specifically, L-dopa increased FC in motor pathways connecting the putamen ROIs with the cerebellum and brainstem. Although L-dopa also increased FC between the inferior ventral striatum and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, it disrupted ventral striatal and dorsal caudate FC with the default mode network. These alterations in FC are consistent with studies that have demonstrated dopaminergic modulation of cognitive and motor striatal networks in healthy participants. Recent studies have demonstrated altered resting state FC in several conditions believed to be characterized by abnormal dopaminergic neurotransmission. Our findings suggest that the application of similar experimental pharmacological manipulations in such populations may further our understanding of the role of dopaminergic neurotransmission in those conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7364-7378
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number22
StatePublished - 3 Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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