It has been suggested that deterioration of central noradrenergic pathways may be responsible for the production of certain schizophrenic symptoms, and that such a degeneration might be reflected in lowered dopamine-β-hydroxylase (DBH) activity in the brains of schizophrenics. The present study revealed that in rats lowered DBH activity was a sensitive index of noradrenergic degeneration. In the postmortem brains of 12 controls and 12 schizophrenics, however, no significant difference in DBH activity between controls and schizophrenics was found. DBH activity was relatively unstable postmortem and adversely affected by neuroleptic drugs, and these factors may have contributed to the previous finding of lowered DBH activity in the brains of schizophrenics. The activity of catechol-O-methyl transferase, which has also been previously reported as low in the brains of schizophrenics, was found to be no different in the controls of the present study.
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