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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 12 (2000), Issue 1-2, Pages 3-9

Probing Cortical Sites of Antipsychotic Drug Action with in vivo Receptor Imaging

P. Shaw1 and L. S. Pilowsky2

1Department of Psychiatry, South London and Maudsley N.H.S. Trust, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF, UK
2Section of Neurochemical Imaging, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF, UK

Received 7 December 2000; Accepted 7 December 2000

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Imaging receptors using radioactive ligands has allowed direct determination of the sites of action of antipsychotic drugs. Initial studies relating antipsychotic drug efficacy to action at striatal dopamine D2-like receptors have recently been undermined. Developments in imaging extrastriatal dopamine D2-like receptors suggest rather that antagonism of these receptors in the temporal cortex is the common site of action for antipsychotic drugs, with occupancy at striatal receptors relating more closely to extrapyramidal side effects. Further work into dopamine receptor subtypes and other receptor groups such as serotonin and GABA neurotransmitters awaits the development of suitable probes, but there are some initial finding. Again a main site of antipsychotic drug action is at cortical levels with high degrees of cortical D1 and 5HT2a receptor occupancy attained particularly by atypical antipsychotic drugs.