The effects of AUT00206, a novel Kv3.1/3.2 potassium channel modulator, on task-based reward system activation: a test of mechanism in schizophrenia

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2022 Oct;239(10):3313-3323. doi: 10.1007/s00213-022-06216-3. Epub 2022 Sep 12.


The pathophysiology of schizophrenia involves abnormal reward processing, thought to be due to disrupted striatal and dopaminergic function. Consistent with this hypothesis, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies using the monetary incentive delay (MID) task report hypoactivation in the striatum during reward anticipation in schizophrenia. Dopamine neuron activity is modulated by striatal GABAergic interneurons. GABAergic interneuron firing rates, in turn, are related to conductances in voltage-gated potassium 3.1 (Kv3.1) and 3.2 (Kv3.2) channels, suggesting that targeting Kv3.1/3.2 could augment striatal function during reward processing. Here, we studied the effect of a novel potassium Kv3.1/3.2 channel modulator, AUT00206, on striatal activation in patients with schizophrenia, using the MID task. Each participant completed the MID during fMRI scanning on two occasions: once at baseline, and again following either 4 weeks of AUT00206 or placebo treatment. We found a significant inverse relationship at baseline between symptom severity and reward anticipation-related neural activation in the right associative striatum (r = -0.461, p = 0.035). Following treatment with AUT00206, there was a significant increase in reward anticipation-related activation in the left associative striatum (t(13) = 4.23, peak-level p(FWE) < 0.05)), but no significant effect in the ventral striatum. This provides preliminary evidence that the Kv3.1/3.2 potassium channel modulator, AUT00206, may address reward-related striatal abnormalities in schizophrenia.

Keywords: Imaging; Monetary incentive delay; Parvalbumin; Psychosis; Therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Reward
  • Schizophrenia* / diagnostic imaging
  • Schizophrenia* / drug therapy
  • Shaw Potassium Channels
  • Ventral Striatum* / physiology


  • Shaw Potassium Channels