Working memory training impacts the mean diffusivity in the dopaminergic system

Hikaru Takeuchi, Yasuyuki Taki, Rui Nouchi, Hiroshi Hashizume, Atsushi Sekiguchi, Yuka Kotozaki, Seishu Nakagawa, Carlos Makoto Miyauchi, Yuko Sassa, Ryuta Kawashima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Dopaminergic transmission plays a critical role in working memory (WM). Mean diffusivity (MD) is a sensitive and unique neuroimaging tool for detecting microstructural differences particularly in the areas of the dopaminergic system. Despite previous investigation of the effects of WM training (WMT) on dopamine receptor binding potentials, the effects of WMT on MD remain unknown. In this study, we investigated these effects in young adult subjects who either underwent WMT or received no intervention for 4 weeks. Before and after the intervention or no-intervention periods, subjects underwent scanning sessions in diffusion-weighted imaging to measure MD. Compared with no intervention, WMT resulted in an increase in MD in the bilateral caudate, right putamen, left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), right anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), right substantia nigra, and ventral tegmental area. Furthermore, the increase in performance on WMT tasks was significantly positively correlated with the mean increase in MD in the clusters of the left DLPFC and of the right ACC. These results suggest that WMT caused microstructural changes in the regions of the dopaminergic system in a way that is usually interpreted as a reduction in neural components.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3101-3111
Number of pages11
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Nov 26


  • Diffusion-weighted imaging
  • Dopamine
  • MRI
  • Mean diffusivity
  • Plasticity
  • Training
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Histology


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