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J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2004 Winter;16(1):47-56.

Comparison between olanzapine and haloperidol on procedural learning and the relationship with striatal D2 receptor occupancy in schizophrenia.

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Movement Disorder Unit, CHUM Hôtel-Dieu, UQAM, Canada.


The striatum is known to play a primary role in procedural learning. In this study, the authors simultaneously assessed the effects of two antipsychotic drugs on procedural learning and on striatal dopamine (D2) receptor occupancy. Twenty-seven patients receiving either olanzapine or haloperidol as antipsychotic medication were assessed with the Computed Visual Tracking Task (CVTT) and Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) following the administration of Iodine 123-IBZM (123I-IBZM), a radioligand with a high affinity and specificity for the D2 receptors. The results showed poorer procedural learning in the haloperidol-treated patients than in normal control subjects, while no difference could be found between olanzapine-treated patients and normal control subjects. In the haloperidol but not the olanzapine group, significant correlations were found between procedural learning deficits and striatal D2 receptor occupancy. However, there was no significant difference in D2 receptor occupancy between olanzapine- and haloperidol-treated patients, and this may be related to the high doses of olanzapine and low doses of haloperidol administered. The authors concluded that: 1) striatal D2 receptor blockade may alter procedural learning in humans; and 2) olanzapine may have a protective effect on procedural learning, even at doses that produce striatal D2 receptor occupancy as high as that found with haloperidol. This protective effect of olanzapine may be related to its atypical pharmacological properties.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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