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Reduced striatal dopamine D2 receptors in people with Internet addiction

Kim, Sang Heea; Baik, Sang-Hyuna; Park, Chang Soob; Kim, Su Jinb; Choi, Sung Wonc; Kim, Sang Eunb

doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e328346e16e

An increasing amount of research has suggested that Internet addiction is associated with abnormalities in the dopaminergic brain system. We hypothesized that Internet addiction would be associated with reduced levels of dopaminergic receptor availability in the striatum compared with controls. To test this hypothesis, a radiolabeled ligand [11C]raclopride and positron emission tomography was used to assess dopamine D2 receptor binding potential in men with and without Internet addiction. Consistent with our prediction, individuals with Internet addiction showed reduced levels of dopamine D2 receptor availability in subdivisions of the striatum including the bilateral dorsal caudate and right putamen. This finding contributes to the understanding of neurobiological mechanism of Internet addiction.

aDepartment of Brain and Cognitive Engineering, Korea University

bDepartment of Nuclear Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

cDepartment of Industrial and Advertising Psychology, Daejeon University, Daejeon, Korea

Correspondence to Sang Eun Kim, MD, PhD, Department of Nuclear Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, 300 Gumi-dong, Bundang-gu, Seongnam 463-707, Korea Tel: +82 31 787 7671; fax: +82 31 787 4018; e-mail: and Correspondence to Sang Hee Kim, PhD, Department of Brain and Cognitive Engineering, Science Library 309D, Korea University, Anam-dong 5ga, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul 136-713, Korea Tel: +82 2 3290 5923; fax: +82 2 3290 3586; e-mail:

Received February 21, 2011

Accepted March 17, 2011

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.