Recently, two research groups published numbers for D2 receptor sites in the neostriatum of drug-naive schizophrenic patients, obtained in vivo by positron emission tomography (PET). One study appeared to confirm the increase of D2 receptor numbers, while the other study did not. A workshop was convened in Montreal to examine the reasons for the discrepancy between the results obtained by the two groups. The workshop considered patient populations, PET instrumentation and scanning methods, pharmacology, and modeling. The workshop identified differences between the approaches of the two groups that could contribute to the divergent results, including age and chronicity of the patient samples, brain region selected for study, metabolism of the different radioligands in blood and brain, reversibility of binding, PET instrumentation, and complexity of data analysis. The workshop concluded that these initial efforts had made considerable progress in establishing the role of PET in the understanding of the biochemical processes underlying mental illness. In particular, the unique ability to quantify regional neuroreceptor density at different stages in the evolution of the disease has been implemented. At the same time, the work so far and this conference served to identify the main sources contributing to the different findings from the two centers. This information will be important in designing the next phase of the research which will build upon and reconcile these apparent discrepancies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health