Affective bias and response modulation following tyrosine depletion in healthy adults

Suzanne Vrshek-Schallhorn, Dustin Wahlstrom, Kelly Benolkin, Tonya White, Monica Luciana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Acute phenylalanine/tyrosine depletion (ATPD) has been used to transiently lower central nervous system dopamine activity in animals and humans. Findings suggest that ATPD may impact dopamine transmission in limbic and striatal regions. Impact on cognitive functions has varied across studies, although several recent reports suggest that affective processing in the context of a go/no-go response control task may be impaired during ATPD. In this study, response control under affective vs nonaffective conditions was examined in healthy individuals who underwent either ATPD or a balanced condition in a between-subjects design. Effects of ATPD were validated through its effects on serum prolactin secretion. ATPD resulted in significantly increased prolactin levels relative to the balanced mixture. Although there were no differences in self-reported mood between the groups, individuals in the ATPD condition demonstrated diminished sensitivity to positively valenced words and seemingly enhanced sensitivity to negatively valenced words in an affective go/no-go task. They also showed difficulties in modulating ongoing behavior in a nonaffective go/no-go task when responses had to be intermittently inhibited then immediately restarted. Basic motor functions were not impacted. Findings are discussed in relation to dopamine's role in switching signals within neural networks that are important for response modulation and affective control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2523-2536
Number of pages14
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 7 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a McKnight Land-Grant Professorship awarded to M Luciana, by a University of Minnesota Graduate School Fellowship and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to S Vrshek-Schallhorn, and by Grant M01-RR0400 from the National Center for Research Resources, National Institute of Health awarded to the General Clinical Research Center at the University of Minnesota. Address correspondence to either Monica Luciana ( or Suzanne Vrshek-Schallhorn (


  • Affect
  • Anhedonia
  • Cognitive control
  • Dopamine
  • Go/no-go
  • Tyrosine depletion


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