Psychological Medicine

Research Article

Does dopamine play a role in schizophrenia?1

Arvid Carlssona1 c1

a1 From the Department of Pharmacology University of Göteborg, Sweden


Inhibition of central dopamine functions appears to be a common basic property of antipsychotic drugs. The mesolimbic and nigrostriatal portions of the dopaminergic system are probably the main targets of these drugs for the mental and the extrapyramidal actions respectively.

Dopaminergic hyperfunction, induced by amphetamines or dopa, may lead to a disturbance mimicking paranoid schizophrenia, lending further support for a key role of dopamine in mental functions.

While a primary disturbance in dopamine function in schizophrenia cannot be ruled out, the intimate relationship between dopaminergic and other neuronal systems must be emphasized. The possible involvement of other amine, aminoacid or peptide transmitters in schizophrenia cannot be disregarded.


c1 Address for correspondence: Dr Arvid Carlsson, Department of Pharmacology, University of Goteborg, Sweden.


1 A modified version of the 16th Geoffrey Vickers lecture delivered in February 1977, under the auspices of the Mental Health Research Trust.