, Volume 174, Issue 1, pp 32–38 | Cite as

The NMDA receptor glycine modulatory site: a therapeutic target for improving cognition and reducing negative symptoms in schizophrenia

  • Joseph T. CoyleEmail author
  • Guochuan Tsai


Numerous clinical studies demonstrate that subanaesthetic doses of dissociative anaesthetics, which are non-competitive antagonists at the NMDA receptor, replicate in normal subjects the cognitive impairments, negative symptoms and brain functional abnormalities of schizophrenia. Post-mortem and genetic studies have identified several abnormalities associated with schizophrenia that would interfere with the activation of the glycine modulatory site on the NMDA receptor. Placebo controlled clinical trials with agents that directly or indirectly activate the glycine modulatory site consistently reduce negative symptoms and frequently improve cognition in patients with chronic schizophrenia, who are receiving concurrent typical antipsychotics. Thus, there is convincing evidence that the glycine modulatory site on the NMDA receptor is a valid therapeutic target for improving cognition and associated negative symptoms in schizophrenia.


NMDA receptor Schizophrenia Glycine modulatory site Glycine -Serine -Cycloserine Negative symptoms 



Some of the research discussed in this article was supported by grants from NIH, NARSAD and the Stanley Foundation. Joseph T. Coyle and Guochuan Tsai are inventors of a patent on d-serine for treatment of cognitive impairments that is owned by the Massachusetts General Hospital (US 6228875).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical SchoolMcLean HospitalBelmontUSA

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