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Dopamine D1 receptor availability is not associated with delusional ideation measures of psychosis proneness

By Granville J. Matheson, Pontus Plavén-Sigray, Anaïs Louzolo, Jacqueline Borg, Lars Farde, Predrag Petrovic, Simon Cervenka

Posted 14 May 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/321646 (published DOI: 10.1016/j.schres.2020.06.001)

The dopamine D1 receptor (D1R) is thought to play a role in psychosis and schizophrenia, however the exact nature of this involvement is not clear. Positron emission tomography studies comparing D1R between patients and control subjects have produced inconsistent results. An important confounding factor in most clinical studies is previous exposure to antipsychotic treatment, which is thought to influence the density of D1R. To circumvent some of the limitations of clinical studies, an alternative approach for studying the relationship between D1R and psychosis is to examine individuals at increased risk for psychotic disorders, or variation in subclinical psychotic symptoms such as delusional ideation within the general population, referred to as psychosis proneness traits. In this study, we investigated whether D1R availability is associated with delusional ideation in healthy controls using data from 76 individuals measured with PET using [11C]SCH23390 and 217 individuals who completed delusional ideation questionnaires, belonging to three different study cohorts. We first performed exploratory, hypothesis-generating, analyses by creating and evaluating a new measure of delusional ideation (n=132 and n=27), which was then found to show a negative association with D1R availability (n=24). Next, we performed confirmatory analyses using Bayesian statistical modelling, in which we first attempted to replicate this result (n=20), and then evaluated the association of Peters Delusion Inventory scores with D1R availability in two independent cohorts (n=41 and 20). Collectively, we found strong evidence that there is little to no linear association between delusional ideation and D1R availability in healthy controls. If differences in D1R can be confirmed in drug-naive schizophrenia patients compared to controls, further studies are needed to ascertain whether these changes occur at the onset of psychotic symptoms or if they are associated with specific behavioural or genetic aspects of psychosis proneness other than delusional ideation.

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