Psychiatry Res. 1999 Apr 26;90(2):91-101.
Fifteen patients fulfilling DSM-IV criteria for major depression were investigated with the specific dopamine D2 receptor antagonist [123I]iodobenzamide (IBZM). Two single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) examinations were performed before and after 6 weeks of treatment with a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI). Striatal D2 receptor binding was calculated and normalized to the cerebellum. In a non-psychiatric control group (n = 17), which was investigated once with [123I]IBZM and SPECT, striatal IBZM binding decreased significantly with age (0.092 per decade).
The age-dependent correlation was lower in subjects with major depression and did not reach statistical significance. There was no significant difference in mean IBZM binding between depressives and control subjects. Age-corrected baseline IBZM binding in the striatum was significantly lower in treatment responders than in depressed non-responders and control subjects.
Furthermore, in the depressive group there was a significant linear correlation between treatment response and change of D2 receptor binding during treatment in the basal ganglia. IBZM binding increased in treatment responders and decreased in non-responders. In accordance with animal studies, the results suggest an association between changes in the dopaminergic system and treatment response in major depression.