Patients with schizophrenia have higher levels of dopamine and the typical symptoms of the disease have been linked to this. However, it is not only the elevated level of the neurotransmitter dopamine that triggers symptoms in patients but also poorer regulation of dopamine release by a certain area of the brain. For the first time, this has now been demonstrated by MedUni Vienna scientists.
The results of the study show that excessive dopamine release alone does not cause the typical symptoms of schizophrenia: No symptoms occurred in the group of healthy volunteers, despite sensitisation and the elevated dopamine release associated with it. The results of the study show that dopamine release is very well regulated by the prefrontal cortex (an area of the brain) in healthy volunteers, whereas this regulation is dysfunctional in patients with schizophrenia