SCHIZOPHRENIC subjects respond to the injection of 3 mg. of atropine sulfate by a slight decrease in systolic blood pressure. Those who are not schizophrenic respond with an increase.1 It was suggested1 that in the latter group the atropine stimulated the sympathetic ganglia to release epinephrine. Schizophrenics, with an underreactive sympathetic system, are not able to do so.
When epinephrine is injected, it produces a marked leucocytosis in two phases. In the first phase there is a maximum, 17 minutes after injection, of neutrophiles, lymphocytes, and eosinophiles. In the second phase the neutrophiles continue to rise but the lymphocytes and eosinophiles decrease.2 Since schizophrenics react normally to injected epinephrine,3 the leucocyte response to atropine may give indirect evidence for or against the suggestion that schizophrenics are not able to release epinephrine. If the hypothesis is correct, atropine should produce an increase in neutrophiles and a decrease
HOFFER A. EFFECT OF ATROPINE ON LEUCOCYTE COUNTS OF PATIENTS WITH MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL DISEASE. AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1954;72(3):348-351. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1954.02330030082009