Striatal dopamine transporter binding in neuroleptic-naive patients with schizophrenia studied with positron emission tomography

Am J Psychiatry. 2000 Feb;157(2):269-71. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.157.2.269.


Objective: Recent in vivo imaging studies indicate a dysregulated presynaptic function of the striatal dopaminergic system in patients with schizophrenia. To further explore the basis of this phenomenon, the authors studied brain dopamine transporter binding in vivo in patients with first-episode, never-medicated schizophrenia.

Method: Nine patients with schizophrenia and nine healthy matched comparison subjects were recruited. Striatal dopamine transporter binding was measured with positron emission tomography and a specific dopamine transporter ligand, [(18)F]CFT, a radiolabeled form of 2beta-carbomethoxy-3beta-(4-fluorophenyl)tropane.

Results: Average caudate and putamen dopamine transporter binding potentials were almost identical in the patients and comparison subjects, but the patients lacked the right-left asymmetry of the caudate dopamine transporter binding seen in the comparison group.

Conclusions: Average striatal dopamine transporter density is unaltered in neuroleptic-naive patients with schizophrenia. However, patients lack asymmetry in caudate dopamine transporter binding, which conforms with disrupted brain lateralization in this disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Carrier Proteins / chemistry
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Caudate Nucleus / chemistry
  • Caudate Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cocaine / analogs & derivatives
  • Corpus Striatum / chemistry*
  • Dopamine / chemistry
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • Schizophrenia / diagnostic imaging
  • Schizophrenia / metabolism*
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • (1R-(exo,exo))-3-(4-fluorophenyl)-8-methyl-8- azabicyclo(3.2.1)octane-2-carboxylic acid, methyl ester
  • Cocaine
  • Dopamine