, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 31-40

Human and animal studies of schizophrenia-related gating deficits

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Prepulse Inhibition (PPI) of the startle response and the P50 auditory-evoked potential suppression are used to assess impairments in the regulation of the neural substrates and to determine the clinical significance of inhibitory deficits in schizophrenia. The study of gating deficits in schizophrenia and in related animal model studies have already advanced our understanding of the neural substrates of information processing abnormalities in patients with schizophrenia. Individuals with schizotypal personality disorder as well as clinically unaffected family members of patients with schizophrenia show PPI and P50 suppression deficits. These "schizophrenic spectrum" populations are not grossly psychotic, nor are they receiving antipsychotic medications. Therefore, the gating deficits are presumed to reflect core (eg, intermediate phenotypic) schizophrenialinked information processing abnormalities. Several studies have reported that gating deficits are associated with clinical ratings of psychiatric symptoms, thought disorder, and neuropsychologic deficits in patients with schizophrenia. In addition, recent human pharmacologic studies have indicated that gating deficits can be reversed by rationallyselected compounds. Animal model studies have generally shown convergence with the human studies and may lead to improved identification of efficacious new antipsychotic medications for patients with schizophrenia.