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Schizophr Res. 2003 Dec 1;65(1):39-46.

Dopamine transporter change in drug-naive schizophrenia: an imaging study with 99mTc-TRODAT-1.

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Department of Psychiatry, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chang Gung University, School of Medicine, Taiwan, ROC.


The aim of this study was to use a specific dopamine transporter (DAT) ligand, 99mTc-TRODAT-1 with single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) to investigate the densities of DAT in the striatal dopaminergic system in patients with schizophrenia. Striatal DAT uptakes were measured in 12 drug-nai;ve schizophrenic patients and 12 age- and sex-matched healthy volunteers. The psychometric tools included the Standardized Clinical Assessment for Neuropsychiatry (SCAN) and the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). Semiquantitative analyses using the ratio of uptake in caudate, putamen, and striatum to occipital lobe, and left-right asymmetry were performed. Decreased TRODAT uptake in the right striatum and increased uptake in the left striatum were found in the schizophrenics. However, there is no overall difference in the average striatum uptake. The right-left asymmetry of the caudate and putamen DAT binding seen in the healthy control group disappeared in the schizophrenia group. The decreased right uptake and increased left uptake in the striatum might lead to the lack of right-left asymmetry in neuroleptic-nai;ve schizophrenia patients, confirming that the disorder could be due to a disruption in brain lateralization. This is the first report on the use TRODAT to evaluate the DAT density in schizophrenia patients and shows lack of asymmetry in striatal uptake of TRODAT in schizophrenics. The findings also suggest that TRODAT SPECT may be a useful technique to measure dopamine transmission in the human brain and for understanding the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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