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Mol Psychiatry. 2003 Apr;8(4):453-5.

Extrastriatal dopamine D 2/3 receptor density and distribution in drug-naive schizophrenic patients.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Kuopio, Kuopio, Finland.


Several lines of studies have suggested the importance of cortical dopamine (DA) transmission in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. The putative alteration of striatal D(2) receptor density in schizophrenia has been studied intensely, although extrastriatal DA activity may be more relevant for behavioral symptoms. The aim of this study was to explore extrastriatal D(2/3) density in drug-naive schizophrenic patients. We studied the extrastriatal D(2/3) receptor binding with a novel high-affinity single-photon emission tomography ligand epidepride in seven drug-naive schizophrenic patients and seven matched controls. The symptoms were rated with Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale for Schizophrenia. The findings indicated an extremely low D(2/3) receptor binding among patients in temporal cortex in both hemispheres when compared with controls (effect size 2.0-2.3), and the D(2/3) levels had negative correlations with general psychopathological (r from -0.86 to -0.90) and negative (r from -0.37 to -0.55) schizophrenic symptoms. These results support the previous hypothesis on dysfunction of mesocortical DA function behind the cognitive and negative symptoms in schizophrenia.

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