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Schizophr Res. 2001 Oct 1;52(1-2):115-20.

Decreased striatal dopamine transporter binding in vivo in chronic schizophrenia.

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Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology, University of Turku, 20520, Turku, Finland.


We have previously reported that average striatal dopamine transporter (DAT) binding in vivo is unaltered in neuroleptic-naive first-episode schizophrenic patients [Laakso et al., Am. J. Psychiatry 157 (2000) 269]. However, as it has been suggested that some of the brain changes in schizophrenia may vary depending on the illness phase, we studied DAT density in eight stable, medicated chronic schizophrenic patients and eight matched controls using positron emission tomography and [18F]CFT, a marker of dopamine nerve terminals. [18F]CFT binding potentials were significantly lower in chronic schizophrenic patients than in controls, both in the caudate and the putamen (-9 to -16%). Together with the finding of unchanged average striatal DAT levels in first-episode patients and relative insensitivity of striatal [18F]CFT binding to endogenous dopamine and neuroleptic drugs, the result is in line with a relative loss of striatal dopaminergic nerve terminals and/or decreased expression of DAT in a subset of chronic schizophrenic patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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