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Factors associated with increased noradrenaline levels in schizophrenic patients.

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  • 1Department of Medical Psychology and Psychiatry, First Medical School, University of Naples, Italy.


1. CSF NA levels were determined in a sample of DSM III-diagnosed schizophrenics and in a non-psychiatric control group. Schizophrenics with NA levels above and below the median were compared with respect to several clinical, historical, neuropsychological and biological variables. 2. Mean CSF NA levels were significantly higher in schizophrenics than in controls. 3. Schizophrenics with high CSF NA levels, as compared to those with low levels, had significantly higher scores on the CPRS subscale for positive symptoms. Moreover, in the former subgroup, C-EEG alpha relative activity was significantly lower and C-EEG beta relative activity was significantly higher in frontal and central leads. Two of the three patients who had been never treated with neuroleptics, and three of the six patients who had been neuroleptic-free for more than four weeks had high CSF NA levels. 4. These data support the relationship between increased CSF NA levels and the condition of overarousal of the schizophrenic patients, and suggest that prior neuroleptic treatment is not a major determinant of high CSF NA concentration in schizophrenics.

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