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Keywords:

  • Schizophrenia;
  • noradrenaline;
  • overarousal;
  • computerized EEG;
  • platelet MAO

ABSTRACT A significant increase of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) noradrenaline (NA) levels, probably reflecting a rise of central noradrenergic activity, has been observed in a sample of acute schizophrenic patients as compared with a population of subjects without personal or family history of major psychoses. CSF NA levels have been found to be significantly correlated with computerized EEG (C-EEG) indicators of arousal (negative correlation with alpha relative activity and positive correlation with alpha barycentric frequency and beta relative activity in frontal and central leads). No significant relationship has emerged between CSF NA concentration and psychosis ratings on CPRS as well as platelet MAO activity. These findings seem to confirm the link between central noradrenergic hyperaciivity and the condition of enhanced arousal of the schizophrenic patient, although the role of this condition in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia (primary phenomenon or non-specific consequence of the stress related to the illness?) remains to be elucidated.