Effects of acute metabolic stress on the peripheral vasopressinergic system in schizophrenia

Igor Elman*, Scott Lukas, Susan E. Shoaf, David Rott, Caleb Adler, Alan Breier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although both vasopressin and stress have been implicated in the course of schizophrenia, it is unknown whether schizophrenic patients have altered stress-induced function of the vasopressinergic system. We examined the effects of acute metabolic stress induced by pharmacological doses (40 mg/kg) of 2-deoxyglucose (2DG) on plasma concentrations of vasopressin in 13 patients with schizophrenia (with no history of polydipsia and hyponatremia) and 12 healthy control subjects. Baseline vasopressin levels were lower in the schizophrenic patients and progressively increased in both groups throughout the 60 min following 2DG administration to a similar absolute amount, thus remaining lower in the schizophrenic group. Concomitantly, patients with schizophrenia had significantly higher 2DG-induced plasma homovanillic acid (HVA) and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid levels. Vasopressin responses correlated positively and significantly with the HVA responses in schizophrenics and with the pituitary-adrenal axis responses in controls. These results suggest two different patterns of neuroendocrine alterations in schizophrenia, namely a relatively normal vasopressin response to 2DG despite significantly decreased baseline levels and exaggerated responses of the peripheral dopaminegic and serotonergic systems in the face of normal baseline concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-323
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • 2-DG
  • 5-HIAA
  • Dopamine
  • Glucoprivation
  • HVA
  • Serotonin


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