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Increased Brain Dopamine and Dopamine Receptors in Schizophrenia

Angus V. P. Mackay, MB, PhD; Leslie L. Iversen, MA, PhD; Martin Rossor, MB; Ernest Spokes, MD; Edward Bird, MD; Alberto Arregui, MD; Ian Creese, PhD; Solomon H. Snyder, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1982;39(9):991-997. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1982.04290090001001.
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• In postmortem samples of caudate nucleus and nucleus accumbens from 48 schizophrenic patients, there were significant increases in both the maximum number of binding sites (Bmax) and the apparent dissociation constant (KD) for tritiated spiperone. The increase in apparent KD probably reflects the presence of residual neuroleptic drugs, but changes in Bmax for tritiated spiperone reflect genuine changes in receptor numbers. The increases in receptors were seen only in patients in whom neuroleptic medication had been maintained until the time of death, indicating that they may be entirely iatrogenic. Dopamine measurements for a larger series of schizophrenic and control cases (n > 60) show significantly increased concentrations in both the nucleus accumbens and caudate nucleus. The changes in dopamine were not obviously related to neuroleptic medication and, unlike the receptor changes, were most severe in younger patients.


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