In a neuroendocrine challenge paradigm, the present study investigated responses of schizophrenic patients to m-chlorophenylpiperazine (MCPP), a serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5HT) agonists. In an oral dose of 0.25 mg/kg, MCPP was administered in a placebo-controlled double-blind design to male schizophrenic patients (n = 7) and normal male controls (n = 8). Behavioral (Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale; PANSS) and hormonal (cortisol, prolactin) variables were measured over the subsequent 210 min. The schizophrenic patients experienced an overall exacerbation of psychopathology on MCPP as compared with placebo (p < 0.05), with specific worsening of PANSS-positive symptoms (p < 0.025) and PANSS activation (p < 0.001). In addition, the schizophrenic patients showed significantly lower cortisol (p < 0.05) and prolactin (p < 0.05) responses than the normal subjects. The schizophrenic patients had lower peak MCPP blood levels than the normal subjects, although this difference was not statistically significant. The findings are discussed in terms of 5HT receptor(s) sensitivity and the pharmacokinetics of MCPP in schizophrenia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biological Psychiatry