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Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2009 Apr 30;33(3):470-4. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2009.01.007. Epub 2009 Jan 22.

Effects of the DRD3 Ser9Gly polymorphism on aripiprazole efficacy in schizophrenic patients as modified by clinical factors.

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Institute of Biotechnology, Dong-Hwa University, Taiwan.


Aripiprazole, a novel antipsychotic agent, has a unique pharmacological action (partial agonist) on the dopamine neurotransmission system. Aripiprazole has high affinity for dopamine D2 and D3 receptors (DRD2 and DRD3). We investigated whether the efficacy of aripiprazole can be predicted by a functional DRD3 gene polymorphism Ser9Gly (rs6280) as modified by clinical factors in Han Chinese hospitalized patients with acutely exacerbated schizophrenia. After hospitalization, the patients (n=128) were given aripiprazole for up to four weeks. Patients were genotyped for DRD3 Ser9Gly polymorphism by Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP) method. Clinical factors such as gender, age, duration of illness, education level, diagnostic subtype and medication dosage were recorded. Psychopathology was measured biweekly with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). The effects of genetic and clinical factors on PANSS performance after aripiprazole treatment were analyzed by a mixed model regression approach (SAS Proc MIXED). We found that, although the Ser carriers have numerically larger score reductions when compared with non-carriers in almost all PANSS dimensions, the difference of their effects are statically not significant. However, the clinical factors, including dosage of aripiprazole, age, duration of illness, and diagnostic subtype could influence PANSS performance after aripiprazole treatment. This study suggests that DRD3 Ser9Gly polymorphism may not contribute significantly to inter-individual differences in therapeutic efficacy of aripiprazole, but some clinical factors may predict treatment efficacy.

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