Drug models of schizophrenia

Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2015 Feb;5(1):43-58. doi: 10.1177/2045125314557797.


Schizophrenia is a complex mental health disorder with positive, negative and cognitive symptom domains. Approximately one third of patients are resistant to currently available medication. New therapeutic targets and a better understanding of the basic biological processes that drive pathogenesis are needed in order to develop therapies that will improve quality of life for these patients. Several drugs that act on neurotransmitter systems in the brain have been suggested to model aspects of schizophrenia in animals and in man. In this paper, we selectively review findings from dopaminergic, glutamatergic, serotonergic, cannabinoid, GABA, cholinergic and kappa opioid pharmacological drug models to evaluate their similarity to schizophrenia. Understanding the interactions between these different neurotransmitter systems and their relationship with symptoms will be an important step towards building a coherent hypothesis for the pathogenesis of schizophrenia.

Keywords: LSD; PCP; THC; amphetamine; cannabis; drug models; kappa opioid; ketamine; models; psilocybin; psychosis; salvia divinorum; schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Review