BMB Rep. 2013 Nov;46(11):519-26.
Dopamine (DA) regulates emotional and motivational behavior through the mesolimbic dopaminergic pathway. Changes in DA signaling in mesolimbic neurotransmission are widely believed to modify reward-related behaviors and are therefore closely associated with drug addiction. Recent evidence now suggests that as with drug addiction, obesity with compulsive eating behaviors involves reward circuitry of the brain, particularly the circuitry involving dopaminergic neural substrates. Increasing amounts of data from human imaging studies, together with genetic analysis, have demonstrated that obese people and drug addicts tend to show altered expression of DA D2 receptors in specific brain areas, and that similar brain areas are activated by food-related and drug-related cues. This review focuses on the functions of the DA system, with specific focus on the physiological interpretation and the role of DA D2 receptor signaling in food addiction. [BMB Reports 2013; 46(11): 519-526].