Psychosis pathways converge via D2High dopamine receptors

Philip Seeman, Johannes Schwarz, Jiang Fan Chen, Henry Szechtman, Melissa Perreault, G. Stanley McKnight, John C. Roder, Rémi Quirion, Patricia Boksa, Lalit K. Srivastava, Kazuhiko Yanai, David Weinshenker, Tomiki Sumiyoshi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

250 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this review is to identify a target or biomarker of altered neurochemical sensitivity that is common to the many animal models of human psychoses associated with street drugs, brain injury, steroid use, birth injury, and gene alterations. Psychosis in humans can be caused by amphetamine, phencyclidine, steroids, ethanol, and brain lesions such as hippocampal, cortical, and entorhinal lesions. Strikingly, all of these drugs and lesions in rats lead to dopamine supersensitivity and increase the high-affinity states of dopamine D2 receptors, or D2High, by 200-400% in striata. Similar supersensitivity and D2High elevations occur in rats born by Caesarian section and in rats treated with corticosterone or antipsychotics such as reserpine, risperidone, haloperidol, olanzapine, quetiapine, and clozapine, with the latter two inducing elevated D2High states less than that caused by haloperidol or olanzapine. Mice born with gene knockouts of some possible schizophrenia susceptibility genes are dopamine supersensitive, and their striata reveal markedly elevated D2High states; such genes include dopamine-β-hydroxylase, dopamine D4 receptors, G protein receptor kinase 6, tyrosine hydroxylase, catechol-O-methyltransferase, the trace amine-1 receptor, regulator of G protein signaling RGS9, and the RIIβ form of cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA). Striata from mice that are not dopamine supersensitive did not reveal elevated D2High states; these include mice with knockouts of adenosine A2A receptors, glycogen synthase kinase GSK3β, metabotropic glutamate receptor 5, dopamine D1 or D3 receptors, histamine H1, H2, or H3 receptors, and rats treated with ketanserin or a D1 antagonist. The evidence suggests that there are multiple pathways that converge to elevate the D2High state in brain regions and that this elevation may elicit psychosis. This proposition is supported by the dopamine supersensitivity that is a common feature of schizophrenia and that also occurs in many types of genetically altered, drug-altered, and lesion-altered animals. Dopamine supersensitivity, in turn, correlates with D2High states. The finding that all antipsychotics, traditional and recent ones, act on D2 High dopamine receptors further supports the proposition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-346
Number of pages28
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Sep 15


  • Amphetamine
  • D2 receptors
  • Degenerative brain
  • Dopamine receptors
  • Dopamine supersensitivity
  • Gene knockouts
  • Gene mutations
  • Phencyclidine
  • Psychosis
  • Psychosis biomarker
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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