This study examined serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5HT) receptor responsivity in 22 chronic schizophrenic patients and 17 healthy control subjects. The 5HT agonist meta-chlorophenylpiperazine (MCPP) was used as a probe of serotonergic function. MCPP (0.35 mg/kg) or placebo was administered orally after a 3-week drug-free period in a randomized double-blind design. Hormonal (adrenocorticotropic hormone and prolactin), temperature, and behavioral responses and MCPP blood levels were assessed for 210 minutes after administration of the capsules. The schizophrenic patients had blunted temperature responses compared with those of the healthy control subjects: MCPP raised body temperature in the control subjects, but not in the patients. Behavioral responses also differed in the two groups: MCPP increased the total Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) score in the control subjects and tended to decrease it in the patients. In patients, MCPP decreased the BPRS psychosis subscore. Hormonal responses did not differ significantly in the two groups. These findings suggest that further exploration of 5HT function in schizophrenia is warranted.
- adrenocorticotropic hormone
- body temperature