Schizophrenia and the D1 receptor: focus on negative symptoms

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 1992;16(6):797-832. doi: 10.1016/0278-5846(92)90102-k.


Negative symptoms have been associated with structural impairment in the PFC, and hypothesized to arise from a central hypodopaminergic substrate. Corticofugal PFC neurons, which are inhibited by VTA DA innervation, exert a tonic excitatory modulation on DA activity in the NAS. Lesions of ascending DA forebrain projections "uncouple" the functional link between D1 and D2 receptors, permitting independent activation of D1 sites in generating behavioral output. A previously identified absence of this D1/D2 link in schizophrenic brain suggests that functional activation of PFC D1 receptors may induce hyperinhibition of descending corticofugal efferents to the NAS. Consequent hypoactivity of DA in the NAS is proposed to give rise to negative symptoms of schizophrenia, and low dose DA agonist treatments may mimic behavioral features of this symptom profile via direct PFC D1 stimulation. It follows that clozapine's efficacy for negative symptoms may be attributable, in part, to blockade of PFC D1 receptors, with subsequent enhancement of glutamate-facilitated NAS DA activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy
  • Schizophrenia / metabolism*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Receptors, Dopamine
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1