Research

 

Clio Korn (Scripps '10) coauthors a paper in Nature Communications
Melissa Coleman
1/23/2019
 
 
The neurotransmitter dopamine (DA) plays a key role in the control of motor function, motivation, food intake, and reward. Malfunctions in the dopaminergic system cause severe symptoms and debilitating diseases (e.g., Parkinson’s disease). The dopaminergic system is one of the most extensively studied neurotransmitter systems, nevertheless, it is still far from being fully understood. One reason originates from the basic properties of neurotransmitter signaling: in response to perception of macroscopic stimuli, such as sensory cues, molecules are released into synapses, only 20–30 nm broad, bind within milliseconds to intrasynaptic receptors, diffuse into extracellular space and bind to extrasynaptic receptors, trigger secondary processes, and eventually cause changes in macroscopic behavior. Using positron emission tomography (PET) and a radiotracer, they introduce a method for the in vivo assessment of time-dependent regional dopamine release that makes use of the relation between different time scales in the dopaminergic system and that is readily applicable to humans. Nature Communications volume 10, Article number: 336 (2019) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-08143-4  
 

 

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