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December 1980

Cerebral Ventricular Enlargement and Dopamine Synthesis Inhibition in Chronic Schizophrenia

Author Affiliations

Psychiatry Service Veterans Administration and University of Iowa College of Medicine Iowa City, IA 52242
Laboratory of Clinical Psychopharmacology Division of Special Mental Health Research Intramural Research Program National Institute of Mental Health St Elizabeth's Hospital Washington, DC 20032

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1980;37(12):1427. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1980.01780250113018

To the Editor.—  The Archives has published a series of studies by Weinberger et al related to lateral cerebral ventricular enlargement and apparent atrophic brain changes on computerized tomographic (CT) scans in over 50% of patients with chronic schizophrenia.1-3 In their January 1980 Archives article,3 Weinberger et al report the finding of poor response to neuroleptic treatment in chronic schizophrenic patients with ventricular enlargement compared with a matched control group of chronic schizophrenic patients who have normal ventricular size. Insofar as neuroleptics are dopamine (DA) receptor blockers, the poor response to these drugs in schizophrenic patients with ventricular enlargement suggests that the DA hypothesis may not be applicable to this group of schizophrenic patients.In light of this finding, we have reexamined the results of two earlier studies that failed to show a neuroleptic-potentiating effect in chronic schizophrenia of α-methyl-p-tyrosine (metyrosine), a dopamine synthesis inhibitor.4.5