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Brain Res Bull. 1990 Sep;25(3):485-98.

Startle response models of sensorimotor gating and habituation deficits in schizophrenia.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0804.


Studies of prepulse inhibition and habituation of startle responses elicited by intense stimuli provide some unusual opportunities for cross-species explorations of attentional deficits characteristic of schizophrenic patients. Schizophrenic patients exhibit deficits in both the prepulse inhibition of startle and the habituation of startle. The behavioral plasticity of startle responses and the comparability of the test paradigms used in rats and humans greatly facilitates the development of animal models of specifiable behavioral abnormalities in schizophrenic patients. This review describes two such examples of parallel animal and human models, one involving sensorimotor gating and the other examining behavioral habituation. Evidence is presented supporting the involvement of mesolimbic dopaminergic systems in the modulation of prepulse inhibition or sensorimotor gating and the importance of central serotonergic systems in the habituation of startle.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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