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Biol Psychiatry. 2004 Mar 1;55(5):452-6.

Glycine transporter I inhibitor, N-methylglycine (sarcosine), added to antipsychotics for the treatment of schizophrenia.

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1
Laboratory of Molecular and Psychiatric Neuroscience (GT), McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02478, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Hypofunction of N-methyl-D-aspartate glutamate receptor had been implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Treatment with D-serine or glycine, endogenous full agonists of the glycine site of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor, or D-cycloserine, a partial agonist, improve the symptoms of schizophrenia. N-methylglycine (sarcosine) is an endogenous antagonist of glycine transporter-1, which potentiates glycine's action on N-methyl-D-aspartate glycine site and can have beneficial effects on schizophrenia.

METHODS:

Thirty-eight schizophrenic patients were enrolled in a 6-week double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of sarcosine (2 g/d), which was added to their stable antipsychotic regimens. Twenty of them received risperidone. Measures of clinical efficacy and side effects were determined every other week.

RESULTS:

Patient who received sarcosine treatment revealed significant improvements in their positive, negative, cognitive, and general psychiatric symptoms. Similar therapeutic effects were observed when only risperidone-treated patients were analyzed. Sarcosine was well-tolerated, and no significant side effect was noted.

CONCLUSIONS:

Sarcosine treatment can benefit schizophrenic patients treated by antipsychotics including risperidone. The significant improvement with the sarcosine further supports the hypothesis of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor hypofunction in schizophrenia. Glycine transporter-1 is a novel target for the pharmacotherapy to enhance N-methyl-D-aspartate function.

PMID:
15023571
DOI:
10.1016/j.biopsych.2003.09.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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