Presynaptic Dopamine in Schizophrenia

Nobumi Miyake, Judy Thompson, Mette Skinbjerg, Anissa Abi-Dargham

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Presynaptic dopamine (DA) transmission has been measured in schizophrenia using different paradigms aimed at providing estimates of the integrity or the activity of the presynaptic dopaminergic neuron. Researchers have measured: (1) DA synthesis capacity with [18F]DOPA, a measure of the activity of dopa decarboxylase, (2) DA release with studies measuring the impact of a DA releasing stimulant challenge on the binding of a D2 receptor radiotracer, (3) D2 baseline occupancy by DA, a measure of baseline intrasynaptic DA, assessed by the changes in binding of D2 radiotracer induced by DA depletion, and (4) the DA and the vesicular monoamine transporters, to assess the integrity of presynaptic terminals. The relationship between DA release and D2 receptor occupancy at baseline by DA has also been assessed in the same patients. Overall, these different imaging modalities have converged to show a dysregulation of presynaptic dopaminergic activity in schizophrenia, leading to excessive DA release in the striatum, particularly in the projection to the associative striatum, an area of integration between cognitive and limbic cortical inputs. Excessive striatal presynaptic DA is linked to the emergence of acute psychotic symptoms and to their response to treatment in schizophrenia. Understanding the etiology of this dysregulation and its consequences on the rest of the circuitry is important for future drug development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-109
Number of pages6
JournalCNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Pharmacology (medical)


  • PET
  • Presynaptic dopamine
  • Schizophrenia


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