Imaging VS Postmortem Receptor Studies: What You See is What You Get?

  • Lyn Pilowsky
Part of the Neurobiological Foundation of Aberrant Behaviors book series (NFAB, volume 4)


Postmortem research historically provided the technical and evidential basis for in vivo receptor imaging. In vitro mapping of receptor distribution and density is an essential first step for novel tracer development in order to image brain receptors in a living human subject. The chapter reviews the technical distinctions between receptor estimation postmortem and in vivo. The advantages and disadvantages of each approach are also discussed with respect to psychiatric disorder in particular. The neuropharmacology of schizophrenia has been most studied with neuroreceptor imaging and is used as an instructive example of the contribution of both methodologies to understanding the role of dopamine in the disorder. These data include simple studies estimating dopamine D2 receptors in schizophrenia, dynamic in vivo challenges of the dopamine system, and examining the links between dopamine D2 receptor occupancy by antipsychotic drugs and their toxic and therapeutic effects. These studies reveal the necessity of bridging the gap between ante- and postmortem research in schizophrenia and other disorders.


Antipsychotic Drug Receptor Occupancy Striatal Dopamine Atypical Antipsychotic Drug Bioi Psychiatry 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

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  • Lyn Pilowsky

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