The adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol responses to apomorphine (APO), a direct acting dopamine (DA) agonist, have been reported to be significantly blunted in neuroleptic-free patients with schizophrenia (SCH). This study primarily examined the cortisol, but also the prolactin (PRL) and growth hormone (GH), response to APO in patients with SCH compared to normal controls, as well as the relationship between endocrine measures and response to antipsychotic drug treatment. APO, 0.01 mg/kg, or placebo was administered to 51-98 patients with SCH and 15-25 normal controls. Psychopathology was assessed at the baseline and six weeks after drug treatment. The plasma cortisol response to APO was markedly blunted in patients with SCH compared to normal controls. Patients who responded to six weeks of treatment with antipsychotic drugs had a higher cortisol response to APO compared to non-responders. The plasma GH, but not PRL, response to APO was blunted in male patients with SCH. Neither plasma GH nor PRL responses to APO were related to treatment response at six weeks. These results provide further evidence of dopaminergic dysfunction in SCH. Furthermore, the APO-stimulated cortisol response may be predictive of subsequent clinical response to antipsychotic drug treatment. © 2001 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.
Meltzer, H. Y., Lee, M. A., & Jayathilake, K. (2001). The blunted plasma cortisol response to apomorphine and its relationship to treatment response in patients with schizophrenia. Neuropsychopharmacology, 24(3), 278–290. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0893-133X(00)00201-3