Schizophrenia as a disorder of too little dopamine: implications for symptoms and treatment.
ABSTRACT Antipsychotics represent the first effective therapy for schizophrenia, with their benefits linked to dopamine D2 blockade. Schizophrenia was soon identified as a hyperdopaminergic disorder, and antipsychotics proved to be reasonably effective in controlling positive symptoms. However, over the years, schizophrenia has been reconceptualized more broadly, now defined as a heterogeneous disorder with multiple symptom domains. Negative and cognitive features, not particularly responsive to antipsychotic therapy, have taken on increased importance--current thinking suggests that these domains predate the onset of positive symptoms and are more closely tied to functional outcome. That they are better understood in the context of decreased dopamine activity suggests that schizophrenia may fundamentally represent a hypodopaminergic disorder. This shift in thinking has important theoretical implications from the standpoint of etiology and pathophysiology, but also clinically in terms of treatment and drug development.
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ABSTRACT: Almost all antipsychotic drugs (APDs), irrespective of whether they belong to the first-generation (e.g. haloperidol) or second-generation (e.g. clozapine), are dopamine D2 receptor antagonists. Second-generation APDs, which differ from first-generation APDs in possessing a lower propensity to induce extrapyramidal side effects, target a variety of monoamine receptors such as serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) receptors (e.g. 5-HT1A, 5-HT2A, 5-HT2C, 5-HT6, 5-HT7) and α1- and α2-adrenoceptors in addition to their antagonist effects at D2 receptors. This short review is focussed on the potential role of α2-adrenoceptors in the antipsychotic therapy. Schizophrenia is characterised by three categories of symptoms: positive symptoms, negative symptoms and cognitive deficits. α2-Adrenoceptors are classified into three distinct subtypes in mammals, α2A, α2B and α2C. Whereas the α2B-adrenoceptor seems to play only a minor role in the brain, activation of postsynaptic α2A-adrenoceptors in the prefrontal cortex improves cognitive functions. Preclinical models such as D-amphetamine-induced locomotion, the conditioned avoidance response and the pharmacological N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor hypofunction model have shown that α2C-adrenoceptor blockade or the combination of D2 receptor antagonists with idazoxan (α2A/2C-adrenoceptor antagonist) could be useful in schizophrenia. A potential benefit of a treatment combination of first-generation APDs with the α2A/2C-adrenoceptor antagonists idazoxan or mirtazapine was also demonstrated in patients with schizophrenia. It is concluded that α2-adrenoceptors may be promising targets in the antipsychotic therapy.Psychopharmacology 02/2014; · 4.06 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This study sought to determine the moderators in the treatment effect of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) on negative symptoms in schizophrenia. We performed a meta-analysis of prospective studies on the therapeutic application of rTMS in schizophrenia assessing the effects of both low-frequency and high-frequency rTMS on negative symptoms. Results indicate that rTMS is effective in alleviating negative symptoms in schizophrenia. The effect size was moderate (0.63 and 0.53, respectively). The effect size of rTMS on negative symptoms in sham-controlled trials was 0.80 as measured by the SANS and 0.41 as measured by the PANSS. A longer duration of illness was associated with poorer efficacy of rTMS on negative symptoms. A 10Hz setting, at least 3 consecutive weeks of treatment, treatment site at the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and a 110% motor threshold (MT) were found to be the best rTMS parameters for the treatment of negative symptoms. The results of our meta-analysis suggest that rTMS is an effective treatment option for negative symptoms in schizophrenia. The moderators of rTMS on negative symptoms included duration of illness, stimulus frequency, duration of illness, position and intensity of treatment as well as the type of outcome measures used.Psychiatry research. 12/2013;
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ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia is a complex and multifactorial disorder generally diagnosed in young adults at the time of the first psychotic episode of delusions and hallucinations. These positive symptoms can be controlled in most patients by currently-available antipsychotics. Conversely, they are poorly effective against concomitant neurocognitive dysfunction, deficits in social cognition and negative symptoms (NS), which strongly contribute to poor functional outcome. The precise notion of NS has evolved over the past century, with recent studies - underpinned by novel rating methods - suggesting two major sub-domains: "decreased emotional expression", incorporating blunted affect and poverty of speech, and "avolition", which embraces amotivation, asociality and "anhedonia" (inability to anticipate pleasure). Recent studies implicate a dysfunction of frontocortico-temporal networks in the aetiology of NS, together with a disruption of cortico-striatal circuits, though other structures are also involved, like the insular and parietal cortices, amygdala and thalamus. At the cellular level, a disruption of GABAergic-glutamatergic balance, dopaminergic signalling and, possibly, oxytocinergic and cannibinoidergic transmission may be involved. Several agents are currently under clinical investigation for the potentially improved control of NS, including oxytocin itself, N-Methyl-d-Aspartate receptor modulators and minocycline. Further, magnetic-electrical "stimulation" strategies to recruit cortical circuits and "cognitive-behavioural-psychosocial" therapies likewise hold promise. To acquire novel insights into the causes and treatment of NS, experimental study is crucial, and opportunities are emerging for improved genetic, pharmacological and developmental modelling, together with more refined readouts related to deficits in reward, sociality and "expression". The present article comprises an integrative overview of the above issues as a platform for this Special Issue of European Neuropsychopharmacology in which five clinical and five preclinical articles treat individual themes in greater detail. This Volume provides, then, a framework for progress in the understanding - and ultimately control - of the debilitating NS of schizophrenia.European neuropsychopharmacology: the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology 05/2014; 24(5):645-92. · 3.68 Impact Factor