Directors: Antonio M. Battro and Kurt W. Fischer
Program officer: María Lourdes Majdalani
Receptor fingerprinting of the human brain in various challenge conditions with PET
The human brain is continuously exposed to challenges that modify the delicate balance between the various neurotransmitter systems. These challenges can be short-term (brain activation: sensory, motor, cognitive processes; pharmacological challenge; pathological seizure /e.g. epilepsy/) or long-term (normal: maturation, aging, habituation, learning, social interactions; pathological: drug-abuse, drug treatment, neurostress, neuropsychiatric diseases). Thus, the delicate balance between the various receptor systems (i) is highly individual (receptor fingerprint) and (ii) it changes continuously as it has to respond to various challenge conditions. A great deal of functional neuroimaging studies, in combination with other methodologies (post mortem brain imaging, cerebral microdialysis, genetic analysis, knock-out animal models, etc.), has in the near past been devoted to the exploration of major changes in the neurotransmitter / neuroreceptor balance of the human brain under pathological conditions (aging, psychiatric diseases, addiction, etc.). More recently, the investigation into short- and long-term physiological changes in the primate and human brain’s receptor fingerprint has also become a main target of functional neuroimaging studies (the effects of social interactions, the activation of the reward system, binding potential changes due to sensory challenges, etc.). The lecture will provide the audience with a short overview of background theories and recent experimental findings in the field, taking examples from the literature and the author’s own experiments.