The MCPP challenge test in schizophrenia: Hormonal and behavioral responses

Naveed Iqbal, Gregory M. Asnis, Scott Wetzler, Rene S. Kahn, Stanley R. Kay, Herman M. van Praag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)770-778
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 15 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry

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