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March 1983

α-Adrenergic Receptor Function in Schizophrenia: Receptor Number, Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate Production, Adenylate Cyclase Activity, and Effect of Drugs

Author Affiliations

From the Clinical Neuroscience Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1983;40(3):264-270. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1983.01790030034004

• α-Adrenergic receptor function was assessed in platelets from drug-free schizophrenic patients and control subjects. The number of α-receptors was similar in platelet membranes from schizophrenic patients and control subjects. In intact platelets from schizophrenic male, but not female, patients, prostaglandin E1 (PGE1)-stimulated cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) level was less than in control subjects. This defect may be due, at least in part, to decreased adenylate cyclase activity. In platelet lysates from schizophrenic patients, but not from normal control subjects, adenylate cyclase activity was diminished and PGE1-stimulated adenylate cyclase activity could be restored partially by the addition of guanosine triphosphate. Treatment with neuroleptic drugs or lithium carbonate did not change α-receptor number or cAMP production in platelets from schizophrenic patients, but high doses of propranolol hydrochloride increased cAMP production without affecting the number of α-receptors. If the production of cAMP in neurons is similar to that in platelets, diminished cAMP production may be associated with a vulnerability to schizophrenia.

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