Author(s): Wang GJ, Volkow ND, Thanos PK, Fowler JS
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Abstract Overeating in obese individuals shares similarities with the loss of control and compulsive drug taking behavior observed in drug-addicted subjects. The mechanism of these behaviors is not well understood. Our prior studies with positron emission tomography (PET) in drug-addicted subjects documented reductions in striatal dopamine (DA) D2 receptors. In pathologically obese subjects, we found reductions in striatal DA D2 receptors similar to that in drug-addicted subjects. Moreover, DA D2 receptor levels were found to have an inverse relationship to the body mass index of the obese subjects. We postulated that decreased levels of DA D2 receptors predisposed subjects to search for reinforcers; in the case of drug-addicted subjects for the drug and in the case of the obese subjects for food as a means to temporarily compensate for a decreased sensitivity of DA D2 regulated reward circuits. Understanding the mechanism in food intake will help to suggest strategies for the treatment of obesity.
This article was published in J Addict Dis
and referenced in Journal of Genetic Syndromes & Gene Therapy