J Psychiatry Neurosci 2010;35(2):90-94
Pei Chun Hsieh, MD; Tzung Lieh Yeh, MD; I Hui Lee, MD; Hui Chun Huang, MD; Po See Chen, MD, PhD; Yen Kuang Yang, MD; Nan Tsing Chiu, MD; Ru Band Lu, MD; Mei-Hsiu Liao, MS
Hsieh, Yeh, Lee, Huang, Chen, Yang, Lu — Department of Psychiatry, National Cheng Kung University Hospital and Dou-liou Branch; Chiu — Department of Nuclear Medicine, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University Hospital; Lu — Institute of Behavioral Medicine, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan; Liao — Institute of Nuclear Energy Research, Atomic Energy Council, Executive Yuan, Taoyun, Taiwan
Background: Although studies have indicated that the frontal lobe plays an important role in performance on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) and that basal ganglia play a specific role in frontal lobe function, the role of striatal dopamine (DA) activity in performance on the WCST remains unclear.
Methods: We assessed the relation between the availability of striatal dopamine transporters (DATs) and performance on the WCST as a measure of executive function in healthy individuals. We approximated the availability of DATs in 53 healthy volunteers aged 19–61 years by use of single photon emission computed tomography with technetium-99m (99mTc)-TRODAT-1 as the ligand. The WCST was administered to all participants.
Results: The availability of DAT was significantly negatively correlated with perseverative errors on the WCST, both before and after adjustment for body mass index (rbefore = –0.39, p = 0.004; rafter = –0.39, p = 0.005).
Limitations: This was an association study; thus, a causal relation between DAT availability and performance cannot be confirmed.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that striatal DAT availability may play a role in executive function as measured by the WCST.
Submitted Jan. 21, 2009; Revised June 29, Aug. 20, 2009; Accepted Sept. 2, 2009.
Acknowledgments: The authors thank the Atomic Energy Council of Taiwan (92-Nu-7-006-004) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC-92-2314-B-006-042, NSC-95-2314-B-006-115-MY2, NSC-97-2314-B-006-006-MY3) for financial support. The authors thank Ms. Ching Lin Chu, Ms. Tsai-Hua Chang, Ms. Yun-Hsuan Chang and Ms. Chien Ting Lin for administrative support.
Competing interests: None declared.
Contributors: Drs. Hsieh and Yang designed the study. Drs. Yeh, Lee, Huang, Chiu, Lu and Liao acquired the data, which Dr. Chen analyzed. Dr. Hsieh wrote the article; all other authors reviewed it. All authors provided final approval for publication.
Correspondence to: Dr. Y.K. Yang, Department of Psychiatry, National Cheng Kung University Hospital, 138 Sheng Li Rd., Tainan 70428, Taiwan; fax 886-6-2084767; firstname.lastname@example.org