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Visualizing fronto-striatal circuitry and neuroleptic effects in schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029-6574, USA.


Disturbances in fronto-striatal circuitry have been postulated to be important in schizophrenia. Positron emission tomography typically shows decreased metabolic rates in these areas relative to other brain areas in schizophrenia. After treatment with typical neuroleptics, striatal metabolic rates are increased, but other brain areas tend not to show significant changes. Atypical neuroleptics less markedly affect striatal metabolic rates, but show wider cortical effects. In order to examine fronto-striatal circuitry, a technique for visualizing the correlations between metabolic rates in all brain areas was applied in 33 controls and 27 unmedicated schizophrenic patients. Correlation images revealed strong fronto-striatal connections in controls, but weak fronto-striatal links in schizophrenic patients. Changes in striatal circuits, also reflected in recent anatomical studies, may be important for understanding antipsychotic effects.

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