Dopaminergic modulation of impaired cognitive activation in the anterior cingulate cortex in schizophrenia

Nature. 1995 Nov 9;378(6553):180-2. doi: 10.1038/378180a0.


Dopaminergic dysregulation remains an empirical cornerstone for theories concerning the causation of schizophrenia. Evidence for a dopamine system dysfunction in schizophrenia includes the psychosis-inducing effects of dopaminergic agonists and the antipsychotic potency of dopaminergic antagonists. Here we use positron emission tomography (PET) to examine the regulatory role of dopamine on cortical function in normal subjects and unmedicated schizophrenic patients. Using a factorial experimental design, we compared the effect of dopaminergic manipulation with apomorphine on a neural response to a cognitive task. In the schizophrenic patients, relative to controls, an impaired cognitive activation of the anterior cingulate cortex was significantly modulated by a manipulation of dopaminergic neurotransmission. Thus, after apomorphine, the schizophrenic subjects displayed a significantly enhanced cognitive activation of the anterior cingulate cortex relative to the controls. These data provide in vivo evidence that an impaired cognitive-task-induced activation of the anterior cingulate cortex in schizophrenic patients can be significantly modulated by a dopaminergic manipulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Apomorphine / pharmacology
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation
  • Cognition* / drug effects
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Dopamine Agonists / pharmacology
  • Gyrus Cinguli / blood supply
  • Gyrus Cinguli / drug effects
  • Gyrus Cinguli / metabolism*
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Schizophrenia / metabolism*
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed


  • Dopamine Agonists
  • Apomorphine
  • Dopamine