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Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1990 Mar;47(3):213-9.

D2 dopamine receptors in neuroleptic-naive schizophrenic patients. A positron emission tomography study with [11C]raclopride.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


Several groups have reported increased densities of D2 dopamine receptors in the basal ganglia of schizophrenic brains postmortem. The significance of this finding has been questioned, since an upregulation of receptor number may be a neuronal response to neuroleptic drug treatment. We have used positron emission tomography and [11C]raclopride to examine central D2 dopamine receptor binding in 20 healthy subjects and 18 newly admitted, young, neuroleptic-naive patients with schizophrenia. An in vivo saturation procedure was applied for quantitative determination of D2 dopamine receptor density (Bmax) and affinity (Kd). When the two groups were compared, no significant difference in Bmax or Kd values was found in the putamen or the caudate nucleus. The hypothesis of generally elevated central D2 dopamine receptor densities in schizophrenia was thus not supported by the present findings. In the patients but not in the healthy controls, significantly higher densities were found in the left than in the right putamen but not in the caudate nucleus.

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