Prepulse Inhibition as a Cross-Species Model of Sensorimotor Gating Deficits in Schizophrenia

  • Mark A. Geyer
Part of the Neurobiological Foundation of Aberrant Behaviors book series (NFAB, volume 1)


Theories addressing the processes involved in schizophrenia have emphasized abnormalities in the processing of information, and specifically difficulties in the filtering or gating of both external sensory stimuli and internal cognitions. Most theories describing the group of disorders included within the broad term “schizophrenia” have conceptualized the common aspect of these disorders as involving deficits in one or more of the multiple mechanisms that enable normal individuals to filter or inhibit responding to most of the sensory stimuli they receive (Braff and Geyer, 1990; Geyer and Braff, 1987; McGhie and Chapman, 1961). As a group, such mechanisms are referred to as sensorimotor gating. In theory, impairments in gating lead to sensory overload and subsequently to cognitive fragmentation. The hypothetical construct of sensorimotor gating has been operationalized and studied in both human and animal paradigms. One important operational measure of sensorimotor gating is provided by prepulse inhibition of the startle response (PPI), which can be measured in humans or animals using virtually identical approaches. Prepulse inhibition refers to the reduction in the startle response produced by a weak non-startling stimulus (the prepulse) presented between 30 and 500 msec before the startle stimulus (Hoffman and Ison, 1980).


Atypical Antipsychotic Startle Response NMDA Antagonist Prepulse Inhibition Acoustic Startle 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

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  • Mark A. Geyer

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