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August 1973

Various Enzymes Involved With Putative Neurotransmitters: Regional Distribution in the Brain of Deceased Mentally Normal, Chronic Schizophrenics or Organic Brain Syndrome Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Michigan Neuropsychopharmacology Research Program, the Department of Pharmacology, Lafayette Clinic, Detroit, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;29(2):195-201. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.04200020037004

Levels of protein and several enzymes involved with neurotransmitters Were determined in 15 brain areas of subjects diagnosed as chronic schizophrenics (CS), organic brain syndrome (OBS, an older age group), or mentally normal (N) prior to death.

Enzymes studied were total cholinesterase (TChE), acetylcholinesterase (AChE), pseudocholinesterase (ChE), choline acetyltransferase (ChAc), monoamine oxidase (MAO), and N-methyltransferase (NMT). The only significant decrease in protein was in the temporal cortex of the OBS group. The septal area of CS patients ( [ill] <.05) and the cingulate gyrus of the OBS group ( [ill] <.01) showed significantly less TChE activity than the mentally normal group. The septal area of the CS also had less AChE activity ( [ill] <.05). ChE activity was greater than normal in the CS patients previously on neuroleptic drugs. ChAc activity was significantly increased ( [ill] <.05) in the medial amygdala of CS patients. MAO activity did not differ significantly between groups. NMT activity was extremely low throughout and showed no statistically significant differences among the diagnostic catagories.

The majority of brain areas sampled showed no significant differences in enzyme activity among the three groups. The differences that were observed must be considered preliminary and subject to further validation under better controlled conditions.

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