Risperidone and haloperidol promote survival of stem cells in the rat hippocampus

  • Gerburg Keilhoff
  • Gisela Grecksch
  • Hans-Gert Bernstein
  • Thomas Roskoden
  • Axel Becker
Original Paper


Altered neuroplasticity contributes to the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. However, the idea that antipsychotics may act, at least in part, by normalizing neurogenesis has not been consistently supported. Our study seeks to determine whether hippocampal cell proliferation is altered in adult rats pretreated with ketamine, a validated model of schizophrenia, and whether chronic administration with neuroleptic drugs (haloperidol and risperidone) affect changes of cell genesis/survival. Ketamine per se has no effect on cell proliferation. Its withdrawal, however, significantly induced cell proliferation/survival in the hippocampus. Risperidone and haloperidol supported cell genesis/survival as well. During ketamine withdrawal, however, their application did not affect cell proliferation/survival additionally. TUNEL staining indicated a cell-protective potency of both neuroleptics with respect to a ketamine-induced cell death. As RT-PCR and Western blot revealed that the treatment effects of risperidone and haloperidol seemed to be mediated through activation of VEGF and MMP2. The mRNA expression of NGF, BDNF, and NT3 was unaffected. From the respective receptors, only TrkA was enhanced when ketamine withdrawal was combined with risperidone or haloperidol. Risperidone also induced BCL-2. Ketamine withdrawal has no effect on the expression of VEGF, MMP2, or BCL-2. It activated the expression of BDNF. This effect was normalized by risperidone or haloperidol. The findings indicate a promoting effect of risperidone and haloperidol on survival of young neurons in the hippocampus by enhancing the expression of the anti-apoptotic protein BCL-2 and by activation of VEGF/MMP2, whereby an interference with ketamine and thus a priority role of the NMDA system was not evident.


Animal model BrdU Ketamine Schizophrenia 



5-Hydroxytryptamine (serotonin) receptor 2A


B cell lymphoma 2


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor




Cyclic adenosine-3′,5′-monophosphate


Complementary DNA


cAMP response element binding protein


Connective tissue growth factor




2′-Deoxyuridine 5′-triphosphate


Extracellular signal-regulated kinase






Glial fibrillary acidic protein


Heparin affin regulatory peptide




c Jun-N-terminal kinase








Labeled streptavidin biotin horseradish peroxidase


Mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase


Matrix metallopeptidase 2 (gelatinase A)


Neuronal nuclei


Nerve growth factor






Integrin alpha-M


Phosphate-buffered saline






Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction








Tris-buffered saline


Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase


Tyrosine kinase receptor


Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated biotinylated UTP nick end labeling


Vascular endothelial growth factor


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerburg Keilhoff
    • 1
  • Gisela Grecksch
    • 2
  • Hans-Gert Bernstein
    • 3
  • Thomas Roskoden
    • 4
  • Axel Becker
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Biochemistry and Cell BiologyUniversity of MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Pharmacology and ToxicologyUniversity of MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany
  4. 4.Institute of AnatomyUniversity of MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany

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