Send to

Choose Destination
Neurology. 1988 Jun;38(6):961-5.

Evidence for a role of haloperidol-sensitive sigma-'opiate' receptors in the motor effects of antipsychotic drugs.

Author information

Department of Psychology, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912.


Haloperidol exhibits a high affinity for a subclass of sigma- "opiate" binding sites which have a unique anatomic distribution and a unique drug selectivity pattern. These binding sites differ from phencyclidine-sensitive sigma-receptors and are found in many brain areas involved in the control of movement. 1,3-Di-o-tolylguanidine (DTG), a highly selective ligand for the haloperidol-sensitive sigma-receptor, produced marked dystonia in rats after microinjection into the red nucleus, a motor area rich in this receptor. Haloperidol and another sigma-ligand [(+)-SKF 10,047] produced similar effects. On the other hand, clozapine, an antipsychotic drug which fails to bind to sigma-receptors and fails to induce movement disorders in humans, failed to induce these dystonic reactions in rats. Phencyclidine was also without effect, as were injections of the active compounds in sites distant to the red nucleus. Microinjections of DTG in the substantia nigra produced vigorous contralateral circling behavior at extremely low doses. These findings suggest that sigma-binding sites represent biologically functional receptors that are active in the neural control of movement. Since haloperidol (and many other antipsychotic drugs) exhibit an affinity for sigma-receptors which is at least equal to its affinity for dopamine receptors, these data raise the further possibility that sigma-receptors are involved in the motor side effects of antipsychotic drugs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center