Mesocorticolimbic hemodynamic response in Parkinson's disease patients with compulsive behaviors

Daniel O. Claassen, Adam J. Stark, Charis A. Spears, Kalen J. Petersen, Nelleke C. van Wouwe, Robert M. Kessler, David H. Zald, Manus J. Donahue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: PD patients treated with dopamine therapy can develop maladaptive impulsive and compulsive behaviors, manifesting as repetitive participation in reward-driven activities. This behavioral phenotype implicates aberrant mesocorticolimbic network function, a concept supported by past literature. However, no study has investigated the acute hemodynamic response to dopamine agonists in this subpopulation. Objectives: We tested the hypothesis that dopamine agonists differentially alter mesocortical and mesolimbic network activity in patients with impulsive-compulsive behaviors. Methods: Dopamine agonist effects on neuronal metabolism were quantified using arterial-spin-labeling MRI measures of cerebral blood flow in the on-dopamine agonist and off-dopamine states. The within-subject design included 34 PD patients, 17 with active impulsive compulsive behavior symptoms, matched for age, sex, disease duration, and PD severity. Results: Patients with impulsive-compulsive behaviors have a significant increase in ventral striatal cerebral blood flow in response to dopamine agonists. Across all patients, ventral striatal cerebral blood flow on-dopamine agonist is significantly correlated with impulsive-compulsive behavior severity (Questionnaire for Impulsive Compulsive Disorders in Parkinson's Disease- Rating Scale). Voxel-wise analysis of dopamine agonist–induced cerebral blood flow revealed group differences in mesocortical (ventromedial prefrontal cortex; insular cortex), mesolimbic (ventral striatum), and midbrain (SN; periaqueductal gray) regions. Conclusions: These results indicate that dopamine agonist therapy can augment mesocorticolimbic and striato-nigro-striatal network activity in patients susceptible to impulsive-compulsive behaviors. Our findings reinforce a wider literature linking studies of maladaptive behaviors to mesocorticolimbic networks and extend our understanding of biological mechanisms of impulsive compulsive behaviors in PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1574-1583
Number of pages10
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


  • Parkinson's disease
  • cerebral blood flow
  • dopamine
  • impulse control disorder
  • impulsive compulsive behaviors


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