BACKGROUND. Certain components of rest-activity rhythms such as greater eveningness (delayed phase), physical inactivity (blunted amplitude) and shift work (irregularity) are associated with increased risk for drug use. Dopaminergic (DA) signaling has been hypothesized to mediate the associations, though clinical evidence is lacking. METHODS. We examined associations between rhythm components and striatal D1 (D1R) and D2/3 receptor (D2/3R) availability in 32 healthy adults (12 female, age: 42.40±12.22) and its relationship to drug reward. Rest-activity rhythms were assessed by one-week actigraphy combined with self-reports. [11C]NNC112 and [11C]raclopride Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans were conducted to measure D1R and D2/3R availability, respectively. Additionally, self-reported drug-rewarding effects of 60 mg oral methylphenidate were assessed. RESULTS. We found that delayed rhythm was associated with higher D1R availability in caudate, which was not attributable to sleep loss or ‘social jet lag’, whereas physical inactivity was associated with higher D2/3R availability in nucleus accumbens (NAc). Delayed rest-activity rhythm, higher caudate D1R and NAc D2/3R availability were associated with greater sensitivity to the rewarding effects of methylphenidate. CONCLUSION. These findings reveal specific components of rest-activity rhythms associated with striatal D1R, D2/3R availability and drug-rewarding effects. Personalized interventions that target rest-activity rhythms may help prevent and treat substance use disorders. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT03190954 FUNDING. This work was accomplished with support from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (ZIAAA000550).


Rui Zhang, Peter Manza, Dardo Tomasi, Sung Won Kim, Ehsan Shokri-Kojori, Sukru B. Demiral, Danielle S. Kroll, Dana E. Feldman, Katherine L. McPherson, Catherine L. Biesecker, Gene-Jack Wang, Nora D. Volkow


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