Lack of association between dopaminergic antagonism and negative symptoms in schizophrenia: a positron emission tomography dopamine D2/3 receptor occupancy study

Gagan Fervaha, Fernando Caravaggio, David C. Mamo, Benoit H. Mulsant, Bruce G. Pollock, Shinichiro Nakajima, Philip Gerretsen, Tarek K. Rajji, Wanna Mar, Yusuke Iwata, Eric Plitman, Jun Ku Chung, Gary Remington, Ariel Graff-Guerrero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Rationale: Several pre-clinical studies suggest that antipsychotic medications cause secondary negative symptoms. However, direct evidence for a relationship among antipsychotic medications, their direct effects on neurotransmitter systems, and negative symptoms in schizophrenia remains controversial. Objective: The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between antipsychotic-related dopamine D2/3 receptor occupancy and negative symptoms in patients with schizophrenia. Methods: Forty-one clinically stable outpatients with schizophrenia participated in this prospective dose reduction positron emission tomography (PET) study. Clinical assessments and [11C]-raclopride PET scans were performed before and after participants underwent gradual dose reduction of their antipsychotic medication by up to 40 % from the baseline dose. Results: No significant relationship was found between antipsychotic-related dopamine D2/3 receptor occupancy and negative symptom severity at baseline or follow-up. Similar null findings were found for subdomains of negative symptoms (amotivation and diminished expression). Occupancy was significantly lower following dose reduction; however, negative symptom severity did not change significantly, though a trend toward reduction was noted. Examination of change scores between these two variables revealed no systematic relationship. Conclusions: Our cross-sectional and longitudinal results failed to find a significant dose-dependent relationship between severity of negative symptoms and antipsychotic-related dopaminergic antagonism in schizophrenia. These findings argue against the notion that antipsychotics necessarily cause secondary negative symptoms. Our results are also in contrast with the behavioral effects of dopaminergic antagonism routinely reported in pre-clinical investigations, suggesting that the role of this variable in the context of chronic treatment and schizophrenia needs to be re-examined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3803-3813
Number of pages11
JournalPsychopharmacology
Volume233
Issue number21-22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct 1
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Apathy
  • Dopamine
  • Extrapyramidal symptoms
  • Motivation
  • Negative symptoms
  • Schizophrenia
  • Side effects
  • Ventral striatum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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    Fervaha, G., Caravaggio, F., Mamo, D. C., Mulsant, B. H., Pollock, B. G., Nakajima, S., Gerretsen, P., Rajji, T. K., Mar, W., Iwata, Y., Plitman, E., Chung, J. K., Remington, G., & Graff-Guerrero, A. (2016). Lack of association between dopaminergic antagonism and negative symptoms in schizophrenia: a positron emission tomography dopamine D2/3 receptor occupancy study. Psychopharmacology, 233(21-22), 3803-3813. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-016-4415-6