Psychotic reactivity to daily life stress and the dopamine system: a study combining experience sampling and [18F]fallypride positron emission tomography.

Presentation First Author: 
Inez Myin-Germeys

Background: Stressful life events increase the risk for psychosis and daily life stress drives moment-to-moment variation in psychotic intensity. Positron emission tomography (PET) studies suggest that prefrontal DAergic activity mediates the behavioral response to an experimental stressor. It is not known how alterations in this DAergic response, associated with psychosis, relate to real life stress responses in momentary assessment studies. This study combined [18F]fallypride PET with an Experience Sampling ambulatory assessment approach to examine the association between prefrontal DAergic stress response and real life psychotic reactivity to daily stress. Methods: Healthy first-degree relatives of individuals with a psychotic disorder (N=14) and healthy controls (N=11) participated in (i) a psychosocial [18F]fallypride PET stress paradigm and (ii) an experience sampling study, using a structured diary approach. Results: Mixed multilevel random intercept models revealed that stress-induced [18F]fallypride displacement, indicative of DAergic activity, in ventromedial prefrontal cortex was associated with psychotic reactivity to daily life stress in the entire sample, lower levels of [18F]fallypride displacement to stress predicting increased psychotic reactivity to daily life stress. Conclusion: This study combined functional neuroimaging with real life behavioural assessments in the investigation of psychotic disorder. Moving beyond a description of group differences in brain function, this study showed decreased [18F]fallypride displacement to stress in VMPFC to be associated with increased psychotic reactivity to daily life stress. This study demonstrates that it is possible to acquire a grasp on how the brain is involved in contextualized experience, which has relevance for neuroimaging studies in general.

Conference Name: 
Presentation Date: 
January, 2015
Additional Authors: 
Dennis Hernaus - Lataster Johan - Viechtbauer Wolfgang - Myin Erik - Ceccarini Jenny - Van Laere Koen - Collip Dina
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