Dopamine D1 signaling organizes network dynamics underlying working memory

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Science Advances  03 Jun 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 6, e1501672
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501672


Local prefrontal dopamine signaling supports working memory by tuning pyramidal neurons to task-relevant stimuli. Enabled by simultaneous positron emission tomography–magnetic resonance imaging (PET-MRI), we determined whether neuromodulatory effects of dopamine scale to the level of cortical networks and coordinate their interplay during working memory. Among network territories, mean cortical D1 receptor densities differed substantially but were strongly interrelated, suggesting cross-network regulation. Indeed, mean cortical D1 density predicted working memory–emergent decoupling of the frontoparietal and default networks, which respectively manage task-related and internal stimuli. In contrast, striatal D1 predicted opposing effects within these two networks but no between-network effects. These findings specifically link cortical dopamine signaling to network crosstalk that redirects cognitive resources to working memory, echoing neuromodulatory effects of D1 signaling on the level of cortical microcircuits.

  • Neuroscience
  • dopamine
  • working memory

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