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Mol Psychiatry. 2007 Mar;12(3):232-46. Epub 2006 Dec 5.

Towards a muscarinic hypothesis of schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany. traedler@uke.uni-hamburg.de

Abstract

Although the neurotransmitter dopamine plays a prominent role in the pathogenesis and treatment of schizophrenia, the dopamine hypothesis of schizophrenia fails to explain all aspects of this disorder. It is increasingly evident that the pathology of schizophrenia also involves other neurotransmitter systems. Data from many streams of research including pre-clinical and clinical pharmacology, treatment studies, post-mortem studies and neuroimaging suggest an important role for the muscarinic cholinergic system in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. This review will focus on evidence that supports the hypothesis that the muscarinic system is involved in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia and that muscarinic receptors may represent promising novel targets for the treatment of this disorder.

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