Effects of sulpiride and chlorpromazine on regional cerebral glucose metabolism in schizophrenic patients as determined by positron emission tomography
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Positron emission tomography (PET) was used to determine regional brain glucose metabolism in schizophrenic patients (n=17) before and during neuroleptic treatment. The patients had not been treated with neuroleptics for at least 3 weeks before the first study. All suffered from acute psychotic symptoms and were hospitalized to obtain neuroleptic treatment. After determination of regional brain metabolism without neuroleptic treatment, 11 patients were treated with sulpiride (800 mg/day) and 6 patients were treated with chlorpromazine (400 mg/day) over 5–6 weeks before the second PET investigation. The control group consisted of seven healthy male volunteers, also investigated twice 5 weeks apart. The PET investigation was made with the subject in a resting state. The tracer was uniformly labelled 11C-glucose. The metabolism was determined bilaterally in 15 brain regions cortical, as well as central regions. Metabolic rates differed among the groups. The sulpiride group had lower metabolic rates than the controls and the schizophrenic patients later treated with chlorpromazine. The sulpiride group, in which absolute metabolic rates were determined, were clinically more autistic and chronic than the chlorpromazine group. It was proposed that these facts could explain the lower metabolic rates in the sulpiride group. A significant change in metabolism in relation to drug treatment was only found in one brain region. The selective D2-receptor antagonist sulpiride increased the metabolic rate in the right lentiform nucleus in comparison with the patients treated with chlorpromazine and the controls. Likewise, relative metabolic rates were increased only in the right lentiform nucleus. Negative correlations between intensity of clinical symptoms and metabolism indicated that emotional tone and drive were related to brain metabolism. No correlations were found between drug concentrations and metabolism or clinical symptoms.
Key wordsPositron emission tomography Schizophrenia Glucose metabolism Chlorpromazine Sulpiride
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