Linking variability in brain chemistry and circuit function through multimodal human neuroimaging.
Identifying neurobiological mechanisms mediating the emergence of individual differences in behavior is critical for advancing our understanding of relative risk for psychopathology. Neuroreceptor positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) can be used to assay in vivo regional brain chemistry and function, respectively. Typically, these neuroimaging modalities are implemented independently despite the capacity for integrated data sets to offer unique insight into molecular mechanisms associated with brain function. Through examples from the serotonin and dopamine system and its effects on threat- and reward-related brain function, we review evidence for how such a multimodal neuroimaging strategy can be successfully implemented. Furthermore, we discuss how multimodal PET-fMRI can be integrated with techniques such as imaging genetics, pharmacological challenge paradigms and gene-environment interaction models to more completely map biological pathways mediating individual differences in behavior and related risk for psychopathology and inform the development of novel therapeutic targets.
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