The British Journal of Psychiatry

Abstract

We used SPECT to examine striatal D2 receptor binding in 20 antipsychotic-free DSM-III-R schizophrenic patients and 20 age- and sex-matched normal controls. Dynamic single-slice SPECT, at a slice chosen to include the basal ganglia, began immediately following intravenous injection of 185 MBq of 123I-IBZM. A semiquantitative approach was used to generate indices of specific D2 receptor binding in the basal ganglia. There was no overall elevation of D2 receptor binding between patients and controls. A male sex-specific left lateralised asymmetry of striatal D2 receptor binding was found in the patient group. Age-dependent decline of striatal D2 receptors was confirmed in controls, but not in patients. These results suggest that alterations in striatal D2 receptor distribution and density do occur in schizophrenia, and possibly reflect wider disruptions in prefrontal-striatal-limbic circuits.