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Review

Underlying Susceptibility to Eating Disorders and Drug Abuse: Genetic and Pharmacological Aspects of Dopamine D4 Receptors

1
School of Pharmacy, Pharmacology Unit, University of Camerino, via Madonna delle Carceri, 9, 62032 Camerino, Italy
2
School of Pharmacy, Medicinal Chemistry Unit, University of Camerino, via S. Agostino, 1, 62032 Camerino, Italy
3
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology “V. Erspamer”, Sapienza University of Rome, P.le Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
These authors jointly supervised this work.
Nutrients 2020, 12(8), 2288; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082288
Received: 4 July 2020 / Revised: 26 July 2020 / Accepted: 27 July 2020 / Published: 30 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain and Food Motivation, Choice, and Eating Behavior)
The dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4) has a predominant expression in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), brain area strictly involved in the modulation of reward processes related to both food and drug consumption. Additionally, the human DRD4 gene is characterized by a variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR) in the exon 3 and, among the polymorphic variants, the 7-repeat (7R) allele appears as a contributing factor in the neurobiological mechanisms underlying drug abuse, aberrant eating behaviors and related comorbidities. The 7R variant encodes for a receptor with a blunted intracellular response to dopamine, and carriers of this polymorphism might be more tempted to enhance dopamine levels in the brain, through the overconsumption of drugs of abuse or palatable food, considering their reinforcing properties. Moreover, the presence of this polymorphism seems to increase the susceptibility of individuals to engage maladaptive eating patterns in response to negative environmental stimuli. This review is focused on the role of DRD4 and DRD4 genetic polymorphism in these neuropsychiatric disorders in both clinical and preclinical studies. However, further research is needed to better clarify the complex DRD4 role, by using validated preclinical models and novel compounds more selective for DRD4. View Full-Text
Keywords: dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4); drug addiction; food addiction; eating behavior; 7-repeat allele; obesity; prefrontal cortex; reward; DRD4 agonist; DRD4 antagonist dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4); drug addiction; food addiction; eating behavior; 7-repeat allele; obesity; prefrontal cortex; reward; DRD4 agonist; DRD4 antagonist
MDPI and ACS Style

Botticelli, L.; Micioni Di Bonaventura, E.; Del Bello, F.; Giorgioni, G.; Piergentili, A.; Romano, A.; Quaglia, W.; Cifani, C.; Micioni Di Bonaventura, M.V. Underlying Susceptibility to Eating Disorders and Drug Abuse: Genetic and Pharmacological Aspects of Dopamine D4 Receptors. Nutrients 2020, 12, 2288. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082288

AMA Style

Botticelli L, Micioni Di Bonaventura E, Del Bello F, Giorgioni G, Piergentili A, Romano A, Quaglia W, Cifani C, Micioni Di Bonaventura MV. Underlying Susceptibility to Eating Disorders and Drug Abuse: Genetic and Pharmacological Aspects of Dopamine D4 Receptors. Nutrients. 2020; 12(8):2288. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082288

Chicago/Turabian Style

Botticelli, Luca, Emanuela Micioni Di Bonaventura, Fabio Del Bello, Gianfabio Giorgioni, Alessandro Piergentili, Adele Romano, Wilma Quaglia, Carlo Cifani, and Maria V. Micioni Di Bonaventura. 2020. "Underlying Susceptibility to Eating Disorders and Drug Abuse: Genetic and Pharmacological Aspects of Dopamine D4 Receptors" Nutrients 12, no. 8: 2288. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082288

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