Increased dopamine-receptor sensitivity in schizophrenia

Lancet. 1978 Jul 29;2(8083):223-6. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(78)91740-3.


Dopaminergic mechanisms have been investigated in post-mortem brain specimens from nineteen patients with schizophrenia and nineteen controls. Dopamine turnover was not increased in schizophrenic patients but, as assessed by the spiroperidol-binding technique, there was a significant increase in postsynaptic receptor sensitivity. The change in the dopamine receptor occurred in nucleus accumbens, putamen, and caudate nucleus. Increased dopamine-receptor sensitivity was present in five patients who had been free of neuroleptic medication for at least 1 year before death, and therefore may be related to the disease process.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Caudate Nucleus / metabolism
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Putamen / metabolism
  • Receptors, Dopamine / drug effects
  • Receptors, Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy
  • Schizophrenia / metabolism*
  • Spiperone / metabolism
  • Tranquilizing Agents / pharmacology
  • Tranquilizing Agents / therapeutic use


  • Receptors, Dopamine
  • Tranquilizing Agents
  • Spiperone
  • Dopamine