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J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2009 Mar;34(2):143-9.

Glutamate and dopamine components in schizophrenia.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


The treatment of schizophrenia for the last half century has been with dopamine (DA) D(2) receptor blockers, implicating a hyperdopamine basis for psychosis. However, a 2007 report found that the glutamate agonist LY404039 was effective in schizophrenia, suggesting a hypoglutamate state for the illness. Although phencyclidine psychosis also supports a hypoglutamate cause, assessing the basic and clinical findings shows that phencyclidine has DA D(2) agonist actions as well. Accurate Dreiding models of phencyclidine and the LY glutamate agonists precisely fit the known tetrahedral model of the D(2) receptor that accommodates all DA agonists. A further view is that metabotropic glutamate agonists also exert D(2) agonism, and their antipsychotic doses (about 100 mg/d) are predicted by their dissociation constants (about 20 nM) for D(2). Hence, the clinical antipsychotic action of a glutamate agonist may depend on its ability to interfere with DA neurotransmission by its DA partial agonism.

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