The prefrontal cortex: a target for antipsychotic drugs
Article first published online: 14 DEC 2009
© 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Volume 121, Issue 1, pages 11–21, January 2010
How to Cite
Artigas, F. (2010), The prefrontal cortex: a target for antipsychotic drugs. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 121: 11–21. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2009.01455.x
- Issue published online: 14 DEC 2009
- Article first published online: 14 DEC 2009
- Accepted for publication July 9, 2009
- antipsychotic drugs;
- prefrontal cortex;
Objective: At therapeutic doses, classical antipsychotic drugs occupy a large proportion of subcortical dopamine D2 receptors, whereas atypical antipsychotics preferentially occupy cortical 5-HT2 receptors. However, the exact cellular and network basis of their therapeutic action is not fully understood.
Method: To review the mechanism of action of antipsychotic drugs with a particular emphasis on their action in the prefrontal cortex (PFC).
Results: The PFC controls a large number of higher brain functions altered in schizophrenia. Histological studies indicate the presence of a large proportion of PFC neurons expressing monoaminergic receptors sensitive to the action of atypical- and to a lesser extentclassical antipsychotic drugs. Functional studies also indicate that both drug families act at PFC level.
Conclusion: Atypical antipsychotic drugs likely exert their therapeutic activity by a preferential action on PFC neurons, thus modulating the PFC output to basal ganglia circuits. Classical antipsychotics also interact with these PFC targets in addition to blocking massively striatal D2 receptors.