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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2003 Sep;169(3-4):234-9. Epub 2003 Jul 4.

Reversal of phencyclidine-induced prepulse inhibition deficits by clozapine in monkeys.

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The Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, 140 Old Orangeburg Road, Orangeburg, NY 10962, USA.



Prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the acoustic startle reflex is a measure of sensorimotor gating, which occurs across species and is deficient in severe neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. In monkeys, as in rodents, phencyclidine (PCP) induces schizophrenia-like deficits in PPI. In rodents, in general, typical antipsychotics (e.g. haloperidol) reverse PPI deficits induced by dopamine (DA) agonists (e.g. apomorphine), but not those induced by N-methyl- d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists [e.g. phencyclidine (PCP)], whereas atypical antipsychotics (e.g. clozapine) reverse PPI deficits induced by DA agonists and NMDA antagonists. However, some discrepancies exist with some compounds and strains of rodents.


This study investigated whether a typical (haloperidol, 0.035 mg/kg) and an atypical (clozapine, 2.5 mg/kg) antipsychotic could be distinguished in their ability to reverse PCP-induced deficits in PPI in eight monkeys ( Cebus apella).


First, haloperidol dose was determined by its ability to attenuate apomorphine-induced deficits in PPI. Then, haloperidol and clozapine were tested in eight monkeys with PCP-induced deficits of PPI. Experimental parameters were similar to standard human PPI procedures, with 115 dB white noise startle pulses, either alone or preceded by 120 ms with a prepulse 16 dB above the 70 dB background noise.


Clozapine reversed PCP-induced PPI deficits. In contrast, haloperidol did not significantly attenuate PCP-induced PPI deficits even at doses that significantly attenuated apomorphine effects.


In this primate model, clozapine was distinguishable from haloperidol by its ability to attenuate PCP-induced deficits in PPI. The results provide further evidence that PPI in nonhuman primates may provide an important animal model for the development of novel anti-schizophrenia medications.

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