Neurotransmitters show correlation with personality

October 6, 2008

With the help of PET, German researchers have established a correlation between healthy people's personalities and their brain chemistry.

Lead investigator Dr. Peter Bartenstein, a professor of nuclear medicine at Ludwig Maximilians-University in Munich, supervised the examination of 23 healthy men with no history of substance abuse with PET following administration of fluorine-18 fluoroethyl-diprenorphine, a radiolabeled tracer. It binds to endorphins occurring naturally in the brain's reward system. Researchers compared PET scans with results of a personality test and found that study subjects with a higher need for approval also showed the highest endorphin uptake. The results could lead to a better understanding and treatment of addictive behavior. They were published in the August issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine (2008;49 [8]:1257-1261).