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Int Rev Psychiatry. 2007 Aug;19(4):337-45.

The role of dopamine for the pathophysiology of schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Nussbaumstrasse 7, 80336 Munich, Germany.


Since decades, experimental approaches and clinical experience have suggested a dopaminergic system's dysregulation playing an important role within the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. This paper summarizes the actual standard of knowledge of the physiological fundamentals and hypothesized dysbalances of the dopamine (DA) system with respect to schizophrenia including interaction with other neurotransmitter systems (glutamate, GABA). The assumed functional role of DA with respect to physiological and illness-associated cognitive performance, especially working memory, reward, and motivation, as it was assessed by fMRI studies, is presented. A third focus concentrates on giving a short survey of SPECT and PET studies measuring the amount of the striatal and extrastriatal DA, the striatal and extrastriatal dopamine D2 receptor, and the dopamine transporter (DAT) comparing first-episode, drug-naïve, treated, and relapsing schizophrenic patients and healthy control persons.

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