Reading Abilities and Dopamine D2/D3 Receptor Availability: An Inverted U-shaped Association in Subjects with Schizophrenia

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Reading impairments are prominent trait-like features of cognitive deficits in schizophrenia, predictive of overall cognitive functioning and presumably linked to dopaminergic abnormalities. To evaluate this, we used 18F-fallypride PET in 19 healthy and 21 antipsychotic-naïve schizophrenia subjects and correlated dopamine receptor binding potentials in relevant AFNI-derived regions and voxelwise with group performance on WRAT4 single-word reading subtest. Healthy subjects’ scores were positively and linearly associated with D2/D3 receptor availability in the rectus, orbital and superior frontal gyri, fusiform and middle temporal gyri, as well as middle occipital gyrus and precuneus, all predominantly in the left hemisphere and previously implicated in reading, hence suggesting that higher dopamine receptor density is cognitively advantageous. This relationship was weakened in schizophrenia subjects and in contrast to healthy participants followed an inverted U-shaped curve both in the cortex and dorsal striatum, indicating restricted optimal range of dopamine D2/D3 receptor availability for cognitive performance in schizophrenia.