Besides the influence of dopaminergic neurotransmission on negative symptoms in schizophrenia, there is evidence that alterations of serotonin (5-HT) system functioning also play a crucial role in the pathophysiology of these disabling symptoms. From post mortem and genetic studies on patients with negative symptoms a 5-HT dysfunction is documented. In addition atypical neuroleptics and some antidepressants improve negative symptoms via serotonergic action. So far no research has been done to directly clarify the association between the serotonergic functioning and the extent of negative symptoms. Therefore, we examined the status of brain 5-HT level in negative symptoms in schizophrenia by means of the loudness dependence of auditory evoked potentials (LDAEP). The LDAEP provides a well established and non-invasive in vivo marker of the central 5-HT activity. We investigated 13 patients with schizophrenia with predominant negative symptoms treated with atypical neuroleptics and 13 healthy age and gender matched controls with a 32-channel EEG. The LDAEP of the N1/P2 component was evaluated by dipole source analysis and single electrode estimation at Cz. Psychopathological parameters, nicotine use and medication were assessed to control for additional influencing factors. Schizophrenic patients showed significantly higher LDAEP in both hemispheres than controls. Furthermore, the LDAEP in the right hemisphere in patients was related to higher scores in scales assessing negative symptoms. A relationship with positive symptoms was not found. These data might suggest a diminished central serotonergic neurotransmission in patients with predominant negative symptoms. © 2013 Wyss et al.
Wyss, C., Hitz, K., Hengartner, M. P., Theodoridou, A., Obermann, C., Uhl, I., … Kawohl, W. (2013). The Loudness Dependence of Auditory Evoked Potentials (LDAEP) as an Indicator of Serotonergic Dysfunction in Patients with Predominant Schizophrenic Negative Symptoms. PLoS ONE, 8(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0068650