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Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2012 Jan 10;36(1):71-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2011.08.010. Epub 2011 Aug 22.

Neurotoxic/neuroprotective activity of haloperidol, risperidone and paliperidone in neuroblastoma cells.

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Department Pathological Anatomy, Pharmacology and Microbiology, University of Barcelona, Spain.


The neurotoxicity of antipsychotic (AP) drugs seems to be linked with neurological side effects like extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS). On the other hand, neuroprotective effects can mitigate or slow the progressive degenerative structural changes in the brain leading to improved outcome of schizophrenia. First and second-generation antipsychotics may differ in their neurotoxic and neuroprotective properties. The aim of this study was to compare the neurotoxic/neuroprotective activity of haloperidol, a first-generation antipsychotic, and risperidone, a second-generation one, with paliperidone, a relatively new second-generation antipsychotic, in SK-N-SH cells. Haloperidol, risperidone and paliperidone (10, 50, 100 μM) were administered, either alone or in combination with dopamine (100 μM), to human neuroblastoma SK-N-SH. We examined the effects of the drugs on cell viability (measured by alamarBlue®), caspase-3 activity (measured by fluorimetric assay) and cell death (by measuring the externalization of phosphatidylserine). Haloperidol significantly decreased cell viability and increased caspase-3 activity and cell death. Risperidone and paliperidone did not affect cell viability or cell death. Both second-generation APs decreased caspase-3 activity, especially paliperidone. In cells treated with dopamine in combination with antipsychotics, only paliperidone (10 μM) induced a slight improvement in cell viability. While haloperidol potentiated the dopamine-induced increase in caspase-3 activity, risperidone and paliperidone reduced this effect. The results indicate that haloperidol induces apoptosis, whereas risperidone and paliperidone may afford protection against it. Of the APs tested, paliperidone always showed the strongest neuroprotective effect. The different antipsychotic effects on survival and cell death might be related to differences in their capacity to induce EPS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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