In this pilot study, membrane phospholipid and high-energy phosphate metabolism were studied in the dorsal prefrontal cortex of 11 drug-naive, first-episode schizophrenic patients and compared with those of 10 healthy control volunteers comparable in age, education, and parental education. The schizophrenic patients had significantly reduced levels of phosphomonoesters and inorganic orthophosphate and significantly increased levels of phosphodiesters and adenosine triphosphate compared with the controls. The levels of phosphocreatine and adenosine diphosphate did not differ in the two subject groups. The adenosine triphosphate and inorganic orthophosphate findings suggest functional hypoactivity of the dorsal prefrontal cortex. The phosphomonoester and phosphodiester findings are compatible with either premature aging or an exaggeration of normal programmed regressive events occurring in the neural systems sampled.